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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The story of Owen : dragon slayer of Trondheim
by E K Johnston

Book list *Starred Review* When Owen's legendary dragon-slayer aunt is too injured to continue her vocation, she starts teaching him the ways of the family business. And when Owen meets Siobhan, their friendship becomes part of an epic saga, as Siobhan turns into Owen's bard and tells the tale of his adventures to help him change the future of dragon slaying forever. Johnston's masterful book is a refreshing blend of alternative history, high fantasy, and contemporary teen life. Johnston has done careful research for her intricate world building, and the result is strikingly original and believable. Elements from our world are delicately shaped to fit this alternative, such as the Romans taking dragon slayers from their hometowns and conscripting them into service for the state. Even less illustrious historical elements the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, for example are now dragon related. But for all the emphasis on her world, Johnston does not neglect the depth of her characters: Owen and Siobhan's friendship is a beautiful, solid thing, and the authenticity of their relationship goes a long way to making this strange world more familiar. Siobhan's narration, in particular, perfectly blends her dry humor with her musical talent. Johnston, like Siobhan, knows how to spin a tale.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Siobhan is a typical teenager. Her hobbies include composing music, hanging out with friends, and driving her first car. Her biggest conflict is whether or not to tell her parents that she would rather pursue music than go to a university. All of that changes when she meets Owen Thorskard, currently failing algebra and potentially the nation's next great dragon slayer. Owen, nephew of famous Slayer Lottie Thorskard, goes to high school by day and trains to protect the rural town of Trondheim by night. The two teens become friends when it becomes painfully evident that Owen needs a math tutor. Little does Siobhan know that she's signing up for a lot more than tutoring. Soon she finds herself working as Owen's personal Bard. While he slays, she documents; together they work to show the country that dragon slayers are needed in more than just the big cities. Johnston seamlessly blends fantasy with realistic fiction; readers will have a hard time remembering that dragons aren't an everyday aspect of life. Suggest this title to reluctant readers as the fast-paced plot and witty dialogue will keep them turning pages until the tale's exciting conclusion. A great addition for any library with a strong fantasy following.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Debut novelist Johnston envisions an Earth nearly identical to our own, with one key difference: dragons, whose attraction to carbon emissions-whether from campfires or cars-makes them a persistent threat. Everything from pop music to industry, literature, and the historical record has been influenced. The Sahara desert has its roots in a botched dragon slaying after Rome conquered Carthage; centuries later, the logo for the Detroit Red Wings symbolizes the loss of an entire state: "the wheel, for the car that had brought Michigan up, and the wing, for the dragons that had brought it down." After 16-year-old Siobhan McQuaid agrees to become the bard for dragon-slayer-in-training Owen Thorskard, who has moved with his famous dragon-slaying family to her small Ontario town, she winds up at the center of a grassroots effort to understand an odd spike in dragon numbers. Siobhan's narration sings thanks to her dry wit, intelligence, and ability to see the inherent musicality of life, while also commenting on the unreliability of history (and storytelling) and the power of a community to rally to save itself. Ages 11-up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Before Morning
by Joyce Sidman

Publishers Weekly In a book-length poem, Newbery Honor recipient Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night) expresses a heartfelt wish for a blizzard so big that it brings everything to a halt; Caldecott Medalist Krommes (The House in the Night) imagines a child for whom a snow day matters more than most. The child's mother is an airline pilot, and the first spreads show the girl and her father preparing to say good-bye to her. In this context, Sidman's words ("Let the sky fill with flurry and flight") take on a different meaning; the child clearly hopes that, just this once, her mother might stay. As the snow starts ("Let the air turn to feathers"), the mother sets off for the airport, but when she realizes no flights are leaving ("Let urgent plans founder" accompanies huddling groups of stranded airport travelers), she turns back. Krommes's sturdy, rounded figures and quiltlike compositions convey the family's joy as the mother returns. The story's parallel but separate threads-the innocent images of the poem, the cheery reassurance of the illustrations, and the tension of the family's wait-give this collaboration significant emotional depth. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 2-At dusk, a woman, child, and dog hurry out of the park and pass by a bakery, though the wool-capped girl clearly wants to stop. They enter their apartment, where Dad has dinner ready, and everyone looks happy except the girl, who's staring dolefully at a cap that sits atop a small suitcase. In the next illustration, as the windows reflect the night, a book about Amelia Earhart lies open on the couch as the mother, in her airline pilot's uniform, seems to coax her child into returning the cap she's hiding behind her back. Turn the page, and beyond the entry hall filled with winter clothes, skates, and sled, the mother is folding and packing clothes into her overnight bag. Only then do the words begin: "In the deep woolen dark,/as we slumber unknowing,/let the sky fill with flurry and flight." This haunting invocation summons geese, snowflakes, and a heavy whiteness that refracts the golden city lights. Krommes shows viewers the city from the rooftops, from the back of goose wings, and from the statues in the park. When the poem says, "Let urgent plans founder," we see the airport waiting room, where the mother gazes out at snowplows under the planes as a sign announces flight cancellations. Any child might be wishing for snow to "change the world before morning," to "make it slow and delightful and white," but here, as a stunning series of scratchboard (similar to woodcut) and watercolor pictures reveal, the petitioner is a girl who longs to have both her parents home with her to sled down a steep white slope and to visit that bakery at last. VERDICT This simply perfect book is a must-have piece of portable poetry and art for all collections.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-In spreads that begin wordlessly, scratchboard and watercolor images introduce a child as she says good-bye to her mother, an airline pilot. Then snow mounts, rendering travel impossible, and the mother returns home in time for a full day of sledding and indoor coziness. With remarkable artwork and poetry, two multi-award-winning children's book creators elevate a simple family scenario into a profound celebration of love, shared comfort, and the sparkling, transformative beauty of winter. Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* The team that produced Swirl by Swirl (2011) offers another story both intimate and glorious. A young girl hides her mother's pilot cap, knowing that it will soon be time for Mom to fly away again. Indeed, as the child sleeps, the mother heads to the airport. But what's this? Around the brownstone's windows, snowflakes are drifting. Soon the sky is white, and by the time Mom reaches the airport, enough snow has fallen to cancel the flight. She flags down a tow truck that drops her at home, resulting in unexpected time with family to make it slow with sleds and hot chocolate. It is rare in picture books to find words and art so perfectly matched, though perhaps not surprising given the talents of Caldecott winner Krommes (The House in the Night, 2008) and Newbery Honor Book author Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, 2010). Each phrase in Sidman's spare text evokes the heart and the senses (let the earth turn to sugar), while Krommes' scratchboard art is so intricately rendered, so full of story, that each page could be investigated dozens of times. At book's end, Sidman explains the text as an invocation, inviting readers to throw their own words and wishes into the air. Who could resist?--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Flotsam
by David Wiesner

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. Two-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Tuesday; The Three Pigs) crafts another wordless mystery, this one set on an ordinary beach and under an enchanted sea. A saucerlike fish's eye stares from the exact center of the dust jacket, and the fish's scarlet skin provides a knockout background color. First-timers might not notice what's reflected in its eye, but return visitors will: it's a boxy camera, drifting underwater with a school of slim green fish. In the opening panels, Wiesner pictures another close-up eye, this one belonging to a blond boy viewing a crab through a magnifying glass. Visual devices—binoculars and a microscope in a plastic bag—rest on a nearby beach towel, suggesting the boy's optical curiosity. After being tossed by a wave, the studious boy finds a barnacle-covered apparatus on the sand (evocatively labeled the "Melville Underwater Camera"). He removes its roll of film and, when he gets the results, readers see another close-up of his wide-open, astonished eye: the photos depict bizarre undersea scenes (nautilus shells with cutout windows, walking starfish-islands, octopi in their living room à la Tuesday's frogs). A lesser fantasist would end the story here, but Wiesner provides a further surprise that connects the curious boy with others like him. Masterfully altering the pace with panel sequences and full-bleed spreads, he fills every inch of the pages with intricate, imaginative watercolor details. New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. K-Gr 4–A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. Itâ??s a â??Melville underwater camera,â?? and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless bookâ??s vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesnerâ??s other works, Chris Van Allsburgâ??s titles, or Barbara Lehmanâ??s The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Andrew Jackson And The Miracle Of New Orleans
by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Publishers Weekly
Click to search this book in our catalog Crow Fair: Stories
by Thomas McGuane

Publishers Weekly Me and Ray thought you ought to see what dementia looks like," a woman named Morsel tells Dave, who has just driven Ray across the prairie to visit Morsel and her peculiar father. It's one of many funny, sad, and awful, awfully human moments from McGuane's (Gallatin Canyon) latest story collection featuring aging cowboys, middle-aged men resistant to growing up, and the women who plague and perplex them. "Motherlode" traces the road trip to Morsel's house from a not-so-chance encounter at a smalltown hotel to a scheme for selling drugs in Montana's northern oil fields. McGuane's Montana retains wistful and ironic echoes of the Old West. The title story recounts how two brothers handle their dying mother's revelation of her long-ago love affair at the Crow Fair powwow/Wild West Show. With imagery as sparse and striking as the landscape, houses figure prominently. "Weight Watchers" shows a man who builds homes only for other people. The repossessed "House on Sand Creek" becomes home to a real estate lawyer, his Eastern European wife, her infant son, and Bob the babysitter. At the "Fishing Camp," two longtime friends find their wilderness guide cannot stand being in the wilderness with men who keep arguing about the past. Among female characters, "Prairie Girl" shines as she makes her way from prostitute to bank president. A boy steals hubcaps; a shaman begs charity; a girl hikes toward the howling of wolves: McGuane's stories highlight the detachment of young from old, husband from wife, neighbor from neighbor, the dying from life itself. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* If one McGuane story could be called typical, it might be On a Dirt Road, told by a man curious about his new neighbors, the Jewels, a man and wife who studiously avoid contact. Dodging a dinner date with his wife's friends, the man forces himself on the Jewels and finds them charming, naive, and unquestionably odd. He gathers them up to crash his wife's dinner date, only to discover she's used the dinner date to cover for an assignation. Backdoor irony, you might call it, mixed with black humor. In The Good Samaritan the best hired hand who ever lived turns out to be a con artist. In Stars, a young woman tries out every conventional role, until gradually she sheds them all and goes wild. But another young woman shows great business acumen and rises from prostitution to bank president. McGuane can be very funny, as in Grandma and Me, in which the ne'er-do-well grandson shepherds his blind 90-year-old grandmother around a little Montana town, enduring her sometimes just, sometimes inaccurate belittlings for a modest stipend. Grandma is crazy, and so is her grandson, which becomes clear when a dead body passes by in the river, and he abandons Grandma to chase it. It's as if solving the mystery of the corpse would at last explain the universe. McGuane's stories are about the whacked-out order men and womenassign to things, but it's not the true order and merely contributes to a larger confusion that is not far from horror. Seventeen glum, gleeful, brilliant stories from the author of Gallatin Canyon (2006) and Driving on the Rim (2010).--Mort, John Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Starred Review. Family ties form the focus of these turbulent stories, set mostly in Montana. The title story concerns the strained relationship of two brothers that's exacerbated by the discovery of their saintly mother's infidelity. "A Long View to the West" explores the highly ambivalent feelings of a son, a small-town car dealer, toward his father as he listens once again to his too-familiar stories when visiting him in the hospital. "River Camp" concerns another strained relationship, this one between lifelong friends who have booked a backwoods expedition in hopes of repairing their friendship only to find themselves in the hands of a mentally unstable guide. In "The Casserole," a seemingly comfortable marriage unexpectedly breaks up on the couple's 25th anniversary as they drive to her parents' house for what is supposed to be a celebratory get-together. VERDICT Very little about the world is ever as solid as it might seem for McGuane's solitary and troubled characters, as the foundations of their lives can give way at a moment's notice, leaving them suddenly bereft-or with only a casserole somehow stuffed into in a lunch pail to carry them through the long ride home. A compelling, emotionally charged collection. [See Prepub Alert, 9/15/14.]-Lawrence Rungren, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
by Anna Quindlen

Publishers Weekly Weary, battle-hardened reflections on growing older infuse this latest collection of essays by novelist and former New York Times columnist Quindlen (Every Last One). Having chimed in copiously in previous memoirs on now familiar talking points such as raising children, finding life's balance as a working mother, achieving marital harmony and doling out feminist lessons to three grown children, Quindlen has found one nut to polish in a gratifying sense of survival on her own terms. Now in her late 50s, having lived much longer than her mother, who died when Quindlen was 19, the author finds herself shocked to hear herself referred to as elderly, and no longer troubled by the realization that her sense of control over events is illusory. In essays such as "Generations" and "Expectations," she is careful to pay homage to the women like her mother who grew up before the women's movement and thus had fewer choices. Yet Quindlen sees much work still to be done, especially in breaking glass ceilings and in assumptions about women's looks-including her own. Cocooned in her comfortable lifestyle between a New York City apartment and her country house, surrounded by accumulated "stuff" that is beginning to feel stifling, certain of her marriage-until-death and support of her BFFs, Quindlen holds for the most part a blithe, benign view of growing older. Yet in moments when she dares to peer deeper, such as at her Catholic faith or within the chasm of solitude left by children having left home, she bats away her platitudinous reassurances and approaches a near-searing honesty. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Suddenly sixty, Quindlen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and best-selling novelist (Every Last One, 2010), finds herself looking back on her life. She's not so much wondering how she got where she is but, rather, considering how the choices she made and the chances she took along the way have prepared her for the road ahead. What even to call this next stage in a woman's life? Not elderly, certainly, yet definitely no longer young, this middle-aged morass can be hard to navigate. Friendships fade, fashions flummox, the body wimps out, and the mind has a mind of its own. One can either fight it or face it. In her own unmistakably reasonable way, Quindlen manages to do both, with grace and agility, wisdom and wit, sending out comforting affirmations while ardently confronting preconceived stereotypes and societal demands. Having endeared herself to generations of women, beginning with her eminently distinctive and intuitively perceptive Life in the 30s column, Quindlen now brings her considered and accepted voice of reflection and evaluation to the challenges and opportunities that await. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: After writing a string of immensely popular novels, trusted, high-profile Quindlen will delight her steadfast readers with this pithy, get-real memoir slated for an energetic, all-fronts promotion campaign.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
by Sam Weller

Publishers Weekly Ray Bradbury's recent death renders this loving tribute anthology-a "homecoming" of "fantastic brethren from all over the world," as Bradbury writes in the introduction-all the more poignant. The nameless narrator of Neil Gaiman's "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" has forgotten Bradbury's name, but not his stories. The heroine of Alice Hoffman's "Conjure" has her destiny and her closest friendship changed by Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bonnie Jo Campbell tells the origin story of an illustrated man in "The Tattoo," and Bayo Ojikutu's "Reservation" describes a dystopia that is a near cousin to that of Fahrenheit 451. Some of the best stories pay tribute in their evocation of Bradburyian themes: the vast possibilities and indescribable melancholy of childhood in Joe Hill's "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain," the profundity of loss in John McNally's "The Phone Call," and the renewing power of storytelling in Robert McCammon's "Children of the Bedtime Machine." Bradbury biographer Weller and horror doyen Castle have produced a fine remembrance of a great writer, a deeply moving testament to his enduring appeal. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* It's important to know the credentials of the editors of this wondrous anthology of short stories. Weller is the author of the authorized biography of Ray Bradbury, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury (2005), and Castle is a veteran short story writer and editor of On Writing Horror (2006), a helpful guide to publishing horror novels and short stories. Editorial interest and experience converge here to produce an exciting book. Twenty-six writers celebrate Bradbury through never-before-published short stories, and their offerings bear the acknowledgment that the inspiration for incident, tone, or effect derives from their respect and admiration for the ever-popular sf and fantasy writer products of Bradbury's looming shadow, as Weller says in his introduction. In the cases of these enticing short works, then, Bradbury was each writer's master. What is amazing is the range of authors. The roster includes distinguished writers both expected and not, among the latter, Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, and Bonnie Jo Campbell. What is also amazing is the potential audience for this treasury, which would include lovers of short fiction regardless of any previous attraction to sf or fantasy. Public libraries should acquire the book and cross reference it between sf and general fiction collections.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz

Publishers Weekly : SignatureReviewed by Matthew SharpeAreader might at first be surprised by how many chapters of a book entitled The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are devoted not to its sci fi–and–fantasy-gobbling nerd-hero but to his sister, his mother and his grandfather. However, Junot Diaz's dark and exuberant first novel makes a compelling case for the multiperspectival view of a life, wherein an individual cannot be known or understood in isolation from the history of his family and his nation.Oscar being a first-generation Dominican-American, the nation in question is really two nations. And Dominicans in this novel being explicitly of mixed Taíno, African and Spanish descent, the very ideas of nationhood and nationality are thoughtfully, subtly complicated. The various nationalities and generations are subtended by the recurring motif of fukú, the Curse and Doom of the New World, whose midwife and... victim was a historical personage Diaz will only call the Admiral, in deference to the belief that uttering his name brings bad luck (hint: he arrived in the New World in 1492 and his initials are CC). By the prologue's end, it's clear that this story of one poor guy's cursed life will also be the story of how 500 years of historical and familial bad luck shape the destiny of its fat, sad, smart, lovable and short-lived protagonist. The book's pervasive sense of doom is offset by a rich and playful prose that embodies its theme of multiple nations, cultures and languages, often shifting in a single sentence from English to Spanish, from Victorian formality to Negropolitan vernacular, from Homeric epithet to dirty bilingual insult. Even the presumed reader shape-shifts in the estimation of its in-your-face narrator, who addresses us variously as folks, you folks, conspiracy-minded-fools, Negro, Nigger and plataneros. So while Diaz assumes in his reader the same considerable degree of multicultural erudition he himself possesses—offering no gloss on his many un-italicized Spanish words and expressions (thus beautifully dramatizing how linguistic borders, like national ones, are porous), or on his plethora of genre and canonical literary allusions—he does helpfully footnote aspects of Dominican history, especially those concerning the bloody 30-year reign of President Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. The later Oscar chapters lack the linguistic brio of the others, and there are exposition-clogged passages that read like summaries of a longer narrative, but mostly this fierce, funny, tragic book is just what a reader would have hoped for in a novel by Junot Diaz.Matthew Sharpe is the author of the novels Jamestown and The Sleeping Father. He teaches at Wesleyan University.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

World Fantasy Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Declare
by Tim Powers

Library Journal : As a young man, Alan Hale, working for British Intelligence, failed to stop a mysterious Soviet mission on Mt. Ararat and re-entered civilian life. Twenty years later, he must return to Turkey to accomplish the mission that has haunted him since the end of World War II. Powers (Earthquake Weather), known for his complex fantasy tales, here turns in a classic spy novel with a supernatural twist that ties Lawrence of Arabia to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Fans of John le Carr will appreciate the authentic period detail, meticulous descriptions of the business of espionage, and portraits of actual spies, such as Kim Philby; others will enjoy the suspense and chilling atmosphere of Cold War antics, as well as Powers's intricate chronology and plotting. [The publisher is marketing this as Powers's mainstream breakout novel.

Ed.]--Devon Thomas, Hass Assoc., Ann Arbor, MI Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Powers (The Anubis Gates, etc.), known hitherto as an expert fantasy writer, has created a mind-bending mix of genres here, placing his gifts for extreme speculative fiction in service of a fantastical spy story involving rivalries between no fewer than four intelligence services: British, French, Russian and American. In 1963, Andrew Hale is summoned to reenter the secret service. He has a past embracing anti-Nazi activities in Occupied Paris--where he fell in love with Elena, a Spanish-born Communist operative--and a spectacularly unsuccessful mission on Mount Ararat in 1948, the purpose of which only gradually becomes clear. Powers posits that the mountain, as the speculative last home of Noah's Ark, is also the dwelling place of many djinns, supernatural beings that often take the form of rocks in the Arabian deserts. The father of British spy Kim Philby, a noted Arabist, had been a keen observer of these phenomena and taught his son about them. Now it seems that a supernatural power, manifesting itself as an old woman, is safeguarding the Soviet Union, and if fragments of a destroyed djinn can be introduced into Moscow, they could destroy her protection and make the Soviet Union susceptible to normal human laws. This is Hale's mission. In 1948 it failed, and most of his commando force was destroyed. On his return 15 years later, with Philby, Hale succeeds in shooting fragments of djinn into Philby, who then returns to Moscow. Upon Philby's death many years later, the Soviet Union duly collapses. The styles of spy fiction, with dense counterplotting and extremes of caution, and the spectacular supernatural scenes simply do not blend. It's all offbeat and daringly imaginative, but ultimately rather foolish entertainment. (Jan. 9) Forecast: This original novel, despite its strengths, is unlikely to satisfy fully fans of either spycraft or fantasy--and such is the pitfall of genre-bending. A 6-city author tour plus vigorous promotion online and off could give the book some turbo power, though.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog The Hairstons
by Henry Wiencek

Library Journal : This profile of the Hairstons, a large family of planters and slaves spreading from Virginia and North Carolina to Mississippi, examines the intricate situations forged by interracial relationships and reveals the fate of the family in the crucible of war, emancipation, and the struggle for equality. Journalist Wiencek's conversational narrative, based both on archival research and a series of encounters with family members, highlights the contingent construction of historical accounts while revealing the complex and contradictory beliefs and emotions that characterized these tangled relationships, filled with guilt, anger, and ultimately forgiveness without absolution. The result is a voyage of discovery down the stream of history. Wiencek reminds us that no such story, especially one as compelling as this, can be rendered simply in terms of black and white. Recommended for most libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/98.]--Brooks D. Simpson, Arizona State Univ., Tempe

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Covering similar ground as Edward Ball's National Book Award-winning Slaves in the Family, Wiencek steps gracefully through the intricate web that links two family trees, one white and one black. Because it's not his own family history he explores, Wiencek doesn't labor under the burden of personal moral accountability that made Ball's book so powerful. He intends his book as a national "parable of redemption"--and he succeeds, admirably, in presenting the Hairstons as a metaphor for the nation while also presenting the specificity of their history, which he learned by traveling through three Southern states in search of interviews and courthouse records. He attempts a balance between the two stories over centuries of ignored heritage and denied kin. At one point, the founding Hairston family owned several plantations and hundreds of slave families over three states. Master Peter Hairston and his former slave Thomas Harston fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, and "the success of one brought the other low." As Wiencek follows the Hairstons from Reconstruction through the civil rights era, he paints a picture of the declining fortunes of the descendants of the slave master and the rise and wisdom of the descendants of the slaves. And yet the name itself is treasured among both family branches, and some of the white descendants can't resist the desire to make contact with the other branch. Commonalities emerge among black and white Hairstons; earnest, if partial, gestures of reconciliation are made. Throughout, Wiencek writes without sentimentality but with great feeling. "I heard history," he writes, "not as a historian would write it but as a novelist would imagine it.... I felt all the moral confusion of a spy." Maps, photographs and extended family trees not seen by PW.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus

Library Journal: In his second novel (after Bluesman, LJ 5/15/93), the son of noted writer Andre Dubus manages to get deep inside the heads of two very different characters who clash over a modest house in the San Francisco suburbs. Kathy is a recovering alcoholic and cokehead who loses her inherited bungalow for alleged nonpayment of taxes. Behmini, an Iranian who was an officer in the Shah's air force before fleeing the revolution, is now struggling to succeed in the United States. He buys the house at auction, planning to make a profit on the resale. Kathy skulks around the neighborhood and eventually confronts the family. When she becomes sexually involved with the policeman she met at her eviction, a married man with bad judgment and a drinking problem of his own, he takes up her cause with explosive results. Dubus's attention to detail and realistic prose style give the narrative a hard-edged, cinematic quality, but unlike many movies, its outcome is unexpected. Recommended for all fiction collections.

Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: This powerfully written but bleak narrative is a mesmerizing tale of the American Dream gone terribly awry. Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force under the Shah, now lives in exile with his wife and teenage son near San Francisco. Working on a road crew as a "garbage soldier" by day and as a deli clerk by night, Behrani is obsessed with restoring his family to the position of glittering wealth and prestige it once enjoyed. At a county auction, he sinks his savings into a bungalow seized for non-payment of taxes, and quickly moves his family into it, planning to resell the house at a sizable profit. But when the house's previous occupant, recovering coke addict Kathy Lazaro, resurfaces with valid claims for repossession, Behrani's plan begins to unravel, and with it his tightly controlled facade of composure. Tensions between Lazaro and Behrani quickly escalate into violence, as Lazaro's lover, a married police officer with a weak spot for lost causes, decides to take matters into his own hands. The book's horrifying denouement offers readers a searing study in the wages of pride. Dubus (Bluesman) writes with an authority regarding the American lower middle class that is reminiscent of Russell Banks and Richard Ford, and his limber imagination is capable of drawing the inner lives of three very different main characters with such compassion that readers will find their sympathies hopelessly divided. If the tragedy that he so skillfully orchestrates cries out to be leavened with a little less desperation and some quiet glimpse of hope, the keenly perceptive and moving narrative is proof that the son and namesake of one of our most talented writers has embarked on a dazzling career in his own right.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The art of secrets
by by James Klise

School Library Journal Gr 6-10-A suspicious fire, possibly a hate crime, destroys Saba Khan and her family's apartment and possessions. The Khans rely on the generosity of their neighbors and donations from Saba's school, a prestigious private school near downtown Chicago. Siblings Kendra and Kevin Spoon, two of the teen's classmates, decide an auction would be a great way to raise money to help the Pakistani American family. Soon the Spoons find a unique piece of artwork for the auction, and the event becomes big news that everyone wants in on. The art goes missing, and anyone involved in the auction is a suspect. This novel is told in variety of formats, including journal entries, email, text messages, newspaper stories, and police reports. Ten different characters share their points of view, leaving readers to work out exactly what happened and who might be guilty. Keeping up with all the different perspectives can be daunting, and some entries don't always contribute to the momentum. For fans of realistic fiction with plot twists, mysteries, and epistolary-type novels.-Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* After her family's apartment goes up in flames, Saba Khan's Chicago high school organizes a benefit auction for her family. When a book by the famous outsider artist Henry Darger turns up among the items that have been gathered for sale, it raises a number of perplexing questions: How did such a unique piece go missing for so long? Shouldn't the financially floundering school get a cut of the profits? Instead of bringing everyone together, the discovery further marginalizes the school's outsiders. The story is told through documents, interviews, journal entries, and text messages from Saba, her father, teachers at her school, and her classmates as their suspicions about the art and the origin of the fire grow, and fingers are pointed in every direction. Klise lets loose a chorus of genuine voices as the disturbing truth emerges, and people's secrets grow too large to hide. This art mystery is that rare book that will be passed around by teens as well as teachers in the faculty lounge, discussed and dissected and immediately reread to scour for hidden clues and motivations. The incidents at Highsmith School will stay on readers' minds long after the last page.--Howerton, Erin Downey Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In his intriguing second book, Klise (Love Drugged) tells the story of a Pakistani family rebuilding their lives after their apartment is destroyed in a fire set by an arsonist. Coming to their aid, students from sophomore Saba Khan's prestigious Chicago high school plan a community fundraiser to help replace what her family lost. But when one of the items in the auction is reported missing-a collection of drawings supposedly painted by reclusive (real-life) outsider artist Henry Darger, worth half a million dollars-fingers are pointed and rumors circulate about who might have stolen it. Through emails, texts, journal entries, interview transcripts, newspaper clips, and official documents that pull in the perspectives of students, teachers, and others, Klise simultaneously reveals details about what might have transpired while allowing characters' darker motives-prejudice, envy, greed-to emerge. Astute readers may solve the whodunits early on, but the question of "how far would [people] be willing to go to make [their] dreams come true" propels the book forward to its scandalous conclusion. Ages 12-up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Queen of hearts
by Rhys Bowen

Book list It's the Depression, but not for the titled nobility in England or for movie moguls in Hollywood. Despite being thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie Rannoch, called Georgie, depends on the hospitality of others while she waits for her true love, adventurer Darcy O'Mara, to make enough money so they can marry. She is delighted when her mother, actress Claire Daniels, sweeps in to take her on a transatlantic cruise to New York and on to Las Vegas, where Claire will seek a divorce. Making the acquaintance of shipmate and movie mogul Cy Goldman, Claire and Georgie add Hollywood to their itinerary. But there are shadows over their trip. Georgie thinks she saw a body thrown overboard, Darcy shows up in pursuit of a jewel thief, and, to cap it off, while hosting a weekend house party at his secluded castle, Goldman is found murdered. Bowen moves the classic country-house mystery to a glitzy California castle, portrays real and Hollywood-made celebrities, and adds romance in an engagingly madcap adventure.--Muller, Karen Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Bowen's eighth Royal Spyness mystery (after 2013's Heirs and Graces) is a showcase for the series' many strengths. The year 1934 finds Lady Georgiana Rannoch, an impoverished cousin of George V, adrift, with nothing particular to do in the Kent countryside. The arrival of her scandalous actress mother, Claire Daniels, lifts her out of the doldrums. In need of a quickie divorce in Nevada, Claire invites her daughter to join her on a trip to America. Georgie and her anti-Jeeves of a maid, the hapless Queenie, set sail on the Berengaria, aboard which they become involved in the search for a legendary jewel thief. This quest involves a murder investigation once the ocean liner lands in the U.S. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing will be quite pleased (e.g., when a passenger asks the Berengaria's captain, "Do ships like this sink very often?," he dryly responds, "Only once"). Agent: Meg Ruley, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In her latest adventure (after Heirs and Graces), Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, agrees to accompany her many-times-married mother from Britain to Reno, so that her mother can sign a quick divorce in order to proceed directly to another upcoming nuptial. The tides turn as Georgie's mother meets movie producer Cy Goldman on the ship and is swept away by the promise of a lead part in his new film. The tale quickly turns to tragedy when Cy is murdered and Georgie must step into the role of sleuth once again to discover not only the killer but a suspected jewel thief as well. VERDICT Georgie's effervescent spirit and Bowen's prose are light as air, adding pizzazz to an already amusing and intriguing 1930s-era mystery. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Hugo Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Forever Peace
by Joe Haldeman

Book list The author of the sf classic Forever War (1972) offers a companion, not a sequel, in this similarly titled novel in which the measures taken to sustain seemingly endless conflict wind up being the prospective source of possibly endless resolution.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Veteran sf writer Haldeman views this novel not as a continuation of but as a follow-up to the problems raised in his highly acclaimed 1975 novel, Forever War. In the Universal Welfare State in 2043, draftees and volunteers link their brains to "soldierboy" war machines that do the actual fighting hundreds of miles away. Black physics professor and linked draftee Julian Class; his white mentor and lover, Dr. Amelia Harding; and her colleague Peter discover that the high-profile Jupiter Project is about to re-create the Big Bang that will destroy the solar system. The original 20 survivors of an experiment to link brains via implanted jacks discover they can turn people into pacifists by linking them for two weeks. Together with Julian and Amelia, the group stays one jump ahead of assassins as they try to stop the project and pacify key figures. At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century. Essential for sf collections.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Haldeman's latest is more a companion than a sequel to his ingenious Forever War (1972), a passionate antiwar homage to and rebuttal of Heinlein's gung ho Starship Troopers (1959). It is 2043, and the U.S. and its allies are waging a seemingly endless war against a loose federation of Third World countries called Ngumi. Julian Class is a draftee, an infantryman, and part of a "soldierboy" --a mechanized, armor-plated, highly lethal unit run by a squad of men and women all of whom have been "jacked" or linked together by surgical implantation. Add to the plot mix a plan to build a mammoth particle accelerator on Jupiter's moon, Io, and the rise of a fundamentalist, secretive religious sect, the Hammer of God, to the very highest military ranks. Just before the particle accelerator is implemented, Julian's physicist girlfriend proves that it will throw the galaxy into a diaspora--a big bang--and end the world. That would be fine with the Hammer of God, who initiate a war within the army to ensure that the accelerator does its job. Julian and his cohorts manage to defeat them, even as it is discovered that prolonged linking with other minds results in "humanization," or the inability to kill except in self-defense, and peace breaks out, presumably to last forever. Haldeman had the misfortune to write a classic early in his career, and nothing he has written since is as good. But this one, particularly in its combat scenes, comes close. --John Mort

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly It isn't the sequel to The Forever War (1975) that it was rumored to be?except, perhaps, on a thematic level?but Haldeman's latest novel holds its own with that SF classic. In the year 2043, an American-led Alliance has been at war with Ngumi, a third-world confederation, for eight years, due largely to the Alliance's refusal to share new technology. Aside from a few thermonuclear strikes, most of the fighting, at least on the Alliance's side, has been carried out by "soldierboys," killing machines run under remote control by brain-jacked "mechanics," many of them draftees like physicist Julian Class. Meanwhile, in orbit around Jupiter, humanity's most ambitious scientific experiment ever, the Jupiter Project, is coming to fruition. But Julian's lover and former adviser, Amelia Harding, discovers that potentially the Project could destroy not just our solar system but the entire universe, in a reprise of the Big Bang. When Amelia and Julian try to stop the Project, their way is blocked by the Hammer of God, an influential Christian cult dedicated to bringing about the Endtime. As always, Haldeman, a Vietnam vet, writes with intelligence and power about the horrors of war, and about humanity's seeming inability to overcome its violent tendencies. Julian Class, like so many of Haldeman's protagonists, is an essentially good man who, forced by the military to become a killer, has been driven nearly to suicide by guilt. His story packs an enormous emotional punch, and this novel should be a strong awards contender. Author appearances. (Oct.)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Slime, Mold and Fungi
by Elaine Pascoe

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-Two introductions distinguished by excellent, full-color photos and succinct texts. Both books briefly describe their respective topics and include a chapter on the ways people are affected by them. The bulk of the texts discusses how to collect and house the creatures and offers step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments and related activities. About a dozen species are depicted in each title. Appendixes offer the names and addresses of biological supply companies and short lists for further reading. The texts are clearly written and well organized, and the photographs are outstanding in their clarity and composition. One or two sharp images, many of which are close-ups, appear on almost every page. With its excellent visuals and simple experiments, Ants will be a useful supplement to other material about the topic. While the Silversteins' Fungi (21st Century, 1995) provides basic facts about fungi and their various methods of reproduction, it does not give as much detail on slime molds as Pascoe's book; also, it offers only a few close-up color photographs, and they are not of the same caliber as Kuhn's photos.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-Two introductions distinguished by excellent, full-color photos and succinct texts. Both books briefly describe their respective topics and include a chapter on the ways people are affected by them. The bulk of the texts discusses how to collect and house the creatures and offers step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments and related activities. About a dozen species are depicted in each title. Appendixes offer the names and addresses of biological supply companies and short lists for further reading. The texts are clearly written and well organized, and the photographs are outstanding in their clarity and composition. One or two sharp images, many of which are close-ups, appear on almost every page. With its excellent visuals and simple experiments, Ants will be a useful supplement to other material about the topic. While the Silversteins' Fungi (21st Century, 1995) provides basic facts about fungi and their various methods of reproduction, it does not give as much detail on slime molds as Pascoe's book; also, it offers only a few close-up color photographs, and they are not of the same caliber as Kuhn's photos.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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