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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution
by Simon Schama

Library Journal: Given his popularity, Schama, widely known for his 15-part BBC documentary, A History of Britain, might bring more attention to this important topic: the African American slave struggle, during and after the American Revolution, to achieve freedom in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone and the British citizens who supported them. Schama's is not a complete history—readers will wonder, for instance, how word spread so fast about Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore's declaration that slaves would be granted their freedom if they bore arms against the rebels. Also, Schama does not provide a detailed account of African Americans as soldiers, for which readers might turn to Benjamin Quarles's The Negro in the American Revolution. But he effectively gives enough information to move the story. The book's strength is the discussion of Sierra Leone, in which Schama uses original source material to create an absorbing real-life tale. It is here that he hits his stride. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]—Bryan Craig, Ursuline Coll., Pepper Pike, OH—Bryan Craig, Ursuline Coll., Pepper Pike, OH Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: [Signature]Reviewed by Adam HochschildHas there ever been a patch of history more celebrated than the American Revolution? The torrent is endless: volume after volume about the glory of 1776, the miracle of 1787 and enough biographies of the Founding Fathers to stretch from the Liberty Bell to Bunker Hill and back again. The Library of Congress catalogue lists 271 books or other items to do with George Washington's death and burial alone. Enough!By contrast with the usual hagiography, distinguished historian Schama has found a little-known story from this era that makes the Founding Fathers look not so glorious. The Revolution saw the first mass emancipation of slaves in the Americas—an emancipation, however, not done by the revolutionaries but by their enemies. Many American rebel leaders were slave owners. To hit them where it most hurt, Britain proclaimed freedom for all slaves of rebel masters who could make their way to British-controlled territory. Slaves deserted their horrified owners by the tens of thousands. One, who used his master's last name, was Henry Washington; another renamed himself British Freedom. The most subversive news in this book is that the British move so shocked many undecided Southern whites that it actually pushed them into the rebel camp: "Theirs was a revolution, first and foremost, mobilized to protect slavery." Even though they lost the war, most British officers honored their promise to the escaped slaves. The British commander in New York at the war's end, where some 3,000 runaway slaves had taken refuge, adamantly refused an irate Washington's demand to give them back. Instead, he put them on ships for Nova Scotia.And there, nearly a decade later, another saga began. More than a thousand ex-slaves accepted a British offer of land in Sierra Leone, a utopian colony newly founded by abolitionists, which for a few years in the 1790s was the first place on earth where women could vote. Sadly, however, financial problems and the British government's dismay at so much democracy soon brought an end to the self-rule the former slaves had been promised. Schama once again gives his readers something rare: history that is both well told and well documented. In this wonderfully sprawling epic, there are a few small errors about dates and the like, and perhaps a few more characters than we can easily keep track of, but again and again he manages to bring a scene, a person, a conversation dramatically to life. Would that more historians wrote like this. (On sale Apr. 25)Adam Hochschild is the author of, most recently, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, a National Book Award finalist.

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Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Mr. Wicker
by Maria Alexander

Publishers Weekly Convincing in its haunting whimsy, Alexander's emotionally complex faerie tale comments on grim reality with chilling metaphors. A suicide attempt leads failed horror novelist Alicia Baum to the Library of Lost Childhood Memories and Mr. Wicker, a sinister man who arouses both her passion and her disgust, before she returns to life. She ends up in the care of Dr. Farron, a gentle psychologist researching the concept of bogeymen. Alicia strives to recover missing childhood memories as increasingly violent accidents befall her friends and family, and she grows more and more convinced that Mr. Wicker is not only real but intimately connected to her past. Alexander (By the Pricking) makes the impossible feel probable, anchoring fantasy in everyday struggles. Alicia's spitfire defiance and charming vulnerability, and the eventual romance between her and Dr. Farron, inject warmth into chilling encounters between a world that shouldn't exist and undependable reality. Illness, loss, and heartache color this splendid, bittersweet ode to the ghosts of childhood. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog America Is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture
by by Erik Dussere

Choice In this study of noir in film and fiction, Dussere (American Univ.) argues that hard-boiled detective fiction opposed the burgeoning capitalist-consumer culture with authenticity, an idealistic desire abstractly based on what is not. Finding the supermarket (the domain of the domestic housewife) and the gas station (a hangout for men in greasy clothes) the primary symbols in films made from novels written in this genre, the author roots noir in masculine identity and misogyny. Taking works of Thomas Pynchon and Chester Himes as examples, Dussere supposes that the conspiracy genre of the 1960s grew out of noir; then he sees postmodernism searching for authenticity in cyberpunk, making the only hero the hacker who is able to throw a monkey wrench into the global corporation and stop the machinery. Dussere concludes that authenticity is impossible and the desire for it springs from a dissatisfaction with the fakery of life in a consumer culture where only things and gadgets matter. Dussere's introductory chapter, which explains the terms and outlines the thesis, is fascinating reading. This book goes a long way toward explaining where postmodernism came from and what it is attempting to do. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. M. S. Stephenson University of Texas at Brownsville

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

Library Journal Shifting among multiple viewpoints but focusing mostly on blind French teenager Marie-Laure and Werner, a brilliant German soldier just a few years older than she, this novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece. The main protagonists are brave, sensitive, and intellectually curious, and in another time they might have been a couple. But they are on opposite sides of the horrors of World War II, and their fates ultimately collide in connection with the radio-a means of resistance for the Allies and just one more avenue of annihilation for the Nazis. Set mostly in the final year of the war but moving back to the 1930s and forward to the present, the novel presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending. Marie-Laure and Werner both suffer crushing losses and struggle to survive with dignity amid Hitler's swath of cruelty and destruction. VERDICT -Doerr (The Shell Collector) has received multiple honors for his fiction, including four O. Henry Prizes and the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. His latest is highly recommended for fans of Michael Ondaatje's similarly haunting The English Patient.-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC (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 In 1944, the U.S. Air Force bombed the Nazi-occupied French coastal town of St. Malo. Doerr (Memory Wall) starts his story just before the bombing, then goes back to 1934 to describe two childhoods: those of Werner and Marie-Laure. We meet Werner as a tow-headed German orphan whose math skills earn him a place in an elite Nazi training school-saving him from a life in the mines, but forcing him to continually choose between opportunity and morality. Marie-Laure is blind and grows up in Paris, where her father is a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, until the fall of Paris forces them to St. Malo, the home of Marie-Laure's eccentric great-uncle, who, along with his longtime housekeeper, joins the Resistance. Doerr throws in a possibly cursed sapphire and the Nazi gemologist searching for it, and weaves in radio, German propaganda, coded partisan messages, scientific facts, and Jules Verne. Eventually, the bombs fall, and the characters' paths converge, before diverging in the long aftermath that is the rest of the 20th century. If a book's success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize-winner Doerr's novel triumphs on both counts. Along the way, he convinces readers that new stories can still be told about this well-trod period, and that war-despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices-cannot negate the pleasures of the world. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr's magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. It rests, historically, during the occupation of France during WWII, but brief chapters told in alternating voices give the overall and long ­narrative a swift movement through time and events. We have two main characters, each one on opposite sides in the conflagration that is destroying Europe. Marie-Louise is a sightless girl who lived with her father in Paris before the occupation; he was a master locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. When German forces necessitate abandonment of the city, Marie-Louise's father, taking with him the museum's greatest treasure, removes himself and his daughter and eventually arrives at his uncle's house in the coastal city of Saint-Malo. Young German soldier Werner is sent to Saint-Malo to track Resistance activity there, and eventually, and inevitably, Marie-Louise's and Werner's paths cross. It is through their individual and intertwined tales that Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably re-creates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.High-Demand Backstory: A multipronged marketing campaign will make the author's many fans aware of his newest book, and extensive review coverage is bound to enlist many new fans.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

RITA Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Take no prisoners
by Cindy Gerard.

Publishers Weekly : Bestseller Gerard follows October's Show No Mercy with another fast-paced tale of romance amid flying bullets. After wily smuggler Fredrick Nader kills investigator Sam Lang's sister, Sam swears to quit Black Ops Inc. Then he learns that Vegas blackjack dealer Abbie Hughes could lead him to Nader's hideaway in Honduras. Sam's plan to seduce information out of Abbie backfires: they fall in love, while Nader kidnaps Abbie's brother, Cory. She heads south with the Black Ops boys, determined to rescue Cory and deal with Nader once and for all. Readers will especially love Abbie: skeptical of Sam after their first disastrous interaction, insistent on participating in the mission, horrified by the criminal world of blood and violence, utterly devoted once she opens her heart. Gerard's polished prose and zippy plotting will continue to satisfy her many fans. (Nov.)

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Hugo Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog To Say Nothing of the Dog
by Connie Willis

Publishers Weekly : for Best Short Story.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

The Man Booker Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Disgrace
by J M Coetzee

Library Journal : The "disgrace" of the title belongs to David Lurie, a white, middle-aged professor at Cape Technical University in South Africa whose tenure at the school includes a light class load and heavy liaisons with coeds. His latest affair ends badly when the girl's parents and boyfriend pressure the administration to fire him. He concedes guilt but not remorse and withdraws to his daughter Lucy's farm. David admires Lucy's independence but worries about her living alone in the country. When three black thugs known to Lucy attack the farm, raping her and injuring David, his fears are confirmed. Coetzee devotes much of the story to David's attempt to understand the attack and Lucy's refusal to leave the farm. This novel is never less than compelling owing to his gift for placing multifaceted characters in convincing dilemmas. As flawed as David and Lucy may be, readers will want them to overcome their trials. This also provides much food for thought on the concepts of ownership, victimization, and compassion. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/99; this book was bumped from February 2000 to November 1999 after winning this year's Booker Prize.]--Marc A. Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA

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

Publishers Weekly : As a writer, Coetzee is a literary cascade, with a steady output of fiction and criticism (literary and social) over the last two decades. This latest book, his first novel in five years, is a searing evocation of post-apartheid South Africa; it earned him an unprecedented second Booker Prize. An uninspired teacher and twice divorced, David Lurie is a 52-year-old poetry scholar-cum-"adjunct professor of communications" at Cape Technical University. Spooked by the flicker of twilight in his life trajectory, he sees himself as an aged Lothario soon to be "shuddered over" by the pretty girls he has so often wooed; he is disappointed in and unengaged by the academy he now serves by rote; and he cannot locate the notes for his opera, Byron in Italy, in which he has placed so much reluctant hope. He is, even at his best, a man of "moderated bliss." So when he seduces Melanie Isaacs, a lithe student from his poetry elective ("She does not resist. All she does is avert herself"), he believes her to represent the final object of his desire, his last act of lush, Romantic desperation. And then he is found out. This not uncommon outrage earns him a dismissal and censure from the university committee he refuses to cooperate with in hopes of saving his job. He immediately shoves off for Salem in the Eastern Cape where his daughter, Lucy, manages a dog kennel and works her smallholding, harvesting a modest crop. Here David hopes to cleanse himself with time-honored toil. But his new life in the country offers scarce refuge. Instead, he is flummoxed to discover an unfamiliar Lucy-principled, land-devoted, with a heroic resignation to the social and political developments of modern South Africa. He also memorably encounters Petrus, Lucy's ambitious colored neighbor and sometime assistant. Petrus embodies the shifting, tangled vicissitudes of a new national schematic, and forces David to relate to the broad segment of society previously shrouded by the mists of his self-absorption. But a violent attack on the estate irrevocably alters how the book's central figure perceives many things: his daughter and her bewildering (to him) courage, the rights of South Africa's grossly aggrieved majority, the souls of the damaged dogs he helps put down at the local Animal Welfare League and even the character of Lord Byron's mistress and the heroine of his operatic "chamber-play." But this is no tale of hard-earned, satisfying transformation. It is, rather, a paean to willfulness, an aria on the theme of secca, or the drying up of "the source of everything." In Coetzee's tale, not a single note is false; every sentence is perfectly calibrated and essential. Every passage questions the arbitrary division between the "major and minor" and the long-accepted injustices propped up by nothing so much as time. The book somehow manages to speak of little but interiority and still insinuate peripheries of things it doesn't touch. Somber and crystalline, it "has the right mix of timelessness and decay." It is about the harsh cleansing of humiliation and the regretfulness of knowing things: "I lack the lyrical. I manage love too well. Even when I burn I don't sing, if you understand me." To perceive is to understand in this beautifully spare, necessary novel. First serial to the New Yorker. (Nov.) FYI: Viking accelerated the pub date after the Booker Prize was announced on October 25.

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

World Fantasy Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

Library Journal : This book's rather lackluster title does a grave disservice to a story of tremendous imagination and exquisite style. First novelist Clarke recounts the struggle of two English magicians to return their craft to the level of professional respect it commanded during the medieval golden age. It is 1806, and with the Napoleonic Wars raging, England calls upon Mr. Norrell, a prudent, practiced magician-scholar, to fend off the little general once and for all. Then along comes Jonathan Strange, a handsome and reckless aristocrat who tries his hand at magic and quickly excels. Admirers of Austen will find much to entertain them as they read of the magicians' travails (Norrell takes on Strange as a pupil), English economic ills, and the much darker, more dangerous forces of the Faerie world. This tour de force is sure to appeal to fans of Charles Palliser and Diana Gabaldon and anyone who appreciates a distinctive voice. Highly recommended for all public libraries.—Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA

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Publishers Weekly : The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it. Though irritated by the reticent Norrell, Strange becomes the magician's first pupil, and the British government is soon using their skills. Mr. Strange serves under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (in a series of wonderful historical scenes), but afterward the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's restrictive views of magic's proper place and sets out to create a new age of magic by himself. Clarke manages to portray magic as both a believably complex and tedious labor, and an eerie world of signs and wonders where every object may have secret meaning. London politics and talking stones are portrayed with equal realism and seem indisputably part of the same England, as signs indicate that the Raven King may return. The chock-full, old-fashioned narrative (supplemented with deft footnotes to fill in the ignorant reader on incidents in magical history) may seem a bit stiff and mannered at first, but immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike.

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School Library Journal : Adult/High School–This delightful first novel exerts a strong and seductive pull on readers who might otherwise balk at its length. Like Philip Pullman's work, it is dark, deep, and challenging. It compares dead-on with Jane Austen's novels, and YAs who have underappreciated her wit may find it delicious when applied to magicians. Clarke even tosses in a bit of Dickens and Hardy–with great characterization, subplots, and a sense of fate bearing down hard on us. At stake is the future of English magic, which has nearly dwindled to all theory by the early 1800s, after centuries of prominence. When the book opens, only the reclusive and jealous Gilbert Norrell is practicing. Enter Jonathan Strange, a natural who has never studied magic formally. Norrell resents, then adopts Strange as a pupil whose growth he insists on controlling until the two come to the impasse that nearly leads them to destroy one another. Strange champions the 12th century's "Raven King" as the greatest magician in English history and hopes to summon him from Faerie, an alternate world. Norrell is determined to erase both from English memory–to hide the fact that he himself made a bargain with a fairy that has cost three people their lives, though their hearts go on dismally beating. Expertly written and imagined, the book is a feast for fans of fantasy, historical novels, or simply fabulously engrossing reads.–Emily Lloyd, formerly at Rehoboth Beach Public Library, DE

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