Advice for Readers

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

See Now Then
by Jamaica Kincaid
See Now Then is the first novel in over a decade from acclaimed Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid, making its release a highly anticipated event! Kincaid tells the story of a family in small town Vermont, focusing on a marriage that is falling apart. In a starred review, Booklist raves: “Kincaid has created a measured, bewitching, and metaphysical fable, as well as a venomous, acidly comic, and plangent tale of love, betrayal, and loss that is at once slashingly personal and radiantly universal in its mystery, passion, and catharsis.” Fans may also want to catch her City Arts & Lectures appearance on Wednesday, February 13.


Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
by Karen Russell
Karen Russell has received some remarkable honors in her short career: her novel Swamplandia! was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2011; plus she was listed in The New Yorker's 20 Under 40 in 2010, in The National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 in 2009, and in Granta's Best Young American Novelists in 2007. Her new collection of stories is being called “consistently arresting, frequently stunning” by Kirkus Reviews and “mind-blowing, mythic, macabre, hilarious, and tender” by Booklist. If you love the short story format, also check out her first book, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.


The Dinner
by Herman Koch; translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
The Dinner is already a best seller in Europe, and the winner of a prestigious book prize in the Netherlands. The story begins when two brothers and their wives meet for dinner in an extravagant restaurant. What begins as a “witty look at contemporary manners” turns into “a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller” (Publishers Weekly) as the two couples turn their attention to a gruesome and criminal family secret. Library Journal calls it “a shocking, humorous, and entertaining novel that effectively uses a misanthropic narrator in leading us through a fancy dinner, with morally savage undertones.” The Wall Street Journal compares it to last summer’s hit thriller Gone Girl.  Read or listen to a preview here.


Benediction
Kent Haruf
Haruf is best known for his 1999 best seller Plainsong, a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. In Benediction, the author returns to the same setting—Holt, in the high plains of Colorado. In this small town, families grapple with numerous forms of difficulty, such as death and loss and estrangement from loved ones. Booklist gives it a starred review, praising Haruf, who “again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions”.


The Love Song of Jonny Valentine
by Teddy Wayne
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a bittersweet satire dissecting the life of an eleven-year-old pop star. Jonny is on tour, coping with his manager mom, and grappling with the burdens of celebrity life, while secretly searching for his long lost dad. Publishers Weekly gives it a starred review and the New York Times says the book is “more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age.” Love Song is a follow up to Wayne’s debut novel Kapitoil, about a young, self-taught Qatari programmer who comes to New York City to work in finance. Kapitoil received great reviews but largely flew under the radar.


House of Earth
by Woody Guthrie
House of Earth is the only completed novel by iconic folk singer Guthrie (1912-1967). He wrote it in the 1940s, and it is being published now for the first time. The novel is being described as folksy, political and erotic; it tells a Depression Era story of impoverished West Texas farmers struggling against dust storms that threaten their home. The resurrection of House of Earth is due to a perhaps unlikely duo of historian Douglas Brinkley and actor Johnny Depp, who co-edited this edition. Brinkley and Depp wrote about it last year in the New York Times. Kirkus Reviews calls it “an entertainment--and an achievement even more than a curiosity, yet another facet of Guthrie's multiplex talents.” Publishers Weekly says Guthrie’s “heritage as folksinger, artist, and observer of West Texas strife lives on through these distinct pages infused with the author's wit, personality, and dedication to Americana.”


As Sweet as Honey
by Indira Ganesan
Set on a small island in the Indian Ocean, As Sweet as Honey begins with a wedding in which the groom dies, leaving a new widow—who is also pregnant. The story continues with a large extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles, straddling the worlds of the East and West as their members connect with England and America. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews says “the novel is masterful at exploring the difficulty of cultural identity and integration” and “the characters' genuine charm and the girlish, witty energy of the storytelling are irresistible.”


Percival Everett by Virgil Russell
by Percival Everett
Percival Everett is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California, prolific author and multiple prize winner, including two Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. Everett’s newest novel, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (it’s not a typo) sounds inventive, meta-fictional and at times downright baffling.  According to the publisher, it may be about a father who is writing “the novel he imagines his son would write” or perhaps “the novel that the son imagines his father would imagine, if he were to imagine the kind of novel the son would write”. Sounds confusing, but reviewers promise that the book is an “intriguing and intricate puzzle of a novel” (Booklist) which is “humanely adept at getting to the heart of the human condition” (Publishers Weekly).


Bear is Broken
by Lachlan Smith
Bear is Broken is Lachlan Smith’s first novel, a legal thriller –slash–murder mystery set in San Francisco. The protagonist is a new lawyer trying to follow in his older brother’s footsteps, a criminal defense attorney with a lot of enemies. While the brothers eat lunch in their usual hangout, the elder is suddenly shot in the head. Unfortunately, the local police aren’t very invested in solving the murder of an attorney that was seen as an adversary. Bear is Broken has received multiple starred reviews. Publishers Weekly praises its “assured prose and taut plotting” while Kirkus Reviews calls it “sensitive, ingenious and suspenseful.”


Indiscretion
by Charles Dubow
Debut novel Indiscretion tells the story of a happy marriage between an award winning author and a financially independent woman. They lead a charmed life split between Manhattan and the Hamptons, until an affair breaks their family apart. This premise might not sound earthshattering, but reviewers are unanimously raving about this book. Booklist calls it “a totally addictive read”, Library Journal pronounces it a “deliciously absorbing page-turner”, Publishers Weekly declares it “smart and observant” and Kirkus Reviews calls it “outstanding”, saying it “skillfully tugs at the heartstrings”.


Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!


You can also view this list on Pinterest! Check it out here.


Posted on 2/1/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library.

Investigate Some of the Best Mysteries of 2012

Mystery Writers of America is a distinguished organization of mystery writers and fans. MWA has been promoting mysterious literature since 1945, and includes some of the biggest names in the genre—recent presidents include Charlaine Harris, Laura Lippman and Lee Child. This month, MWA announced the nominees for their annual Edgar Awards. Named for Edgar Allen Poe, these prizes are presented to the authors of the best mystery and crime books published in the U.S. during the prior year. Hopefully you can handle the suspense until the winners are announced on May 2.


Check out a contender for the Edgar Awards:


Best Novel


The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins


The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye


Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn


Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman


Sunset by Al Lamanda


Live by Night by Dennis Lehane


All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley


Best First Novel


The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay


Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman


Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal


The Expats by Chris Pavone


The 500 by Matthew Quirk


Black Fridays by Michael Sears  


Best Paperback Original


Complication by Isaac Adamson


Whiplash River by Lou Berney


Bloodland by Alan Glynn


Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn


The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters  


Best Fact Crime


Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French


Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King


More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers' Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle, MD*


Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre


The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry  


Best Critical/Biographical


Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed by John Paul Athanasourelis*


Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke*


The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O'Brien


In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler*  


Best Short Story


"Iphigenia in Aulis" - An Apple for the Creature by Mike Carey


"Hot Sugar Blues" - Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Steve Liskow


"The Void it Often Brings With It" - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tom Piccirilli


"The Unremarkable Heart" - Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Karin Slaughter


"Still Life No. 41" - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana


Best Juvenile 


Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger


13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau*


The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo*


Spy School by Stuart Gibbs


Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage


Young Adult


Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak


The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George


Crusher by Niall Leonard*


Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


TV Episode Teleplay


"Pilot" - Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)


"Child Predator" - elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)


"Slaughterhouse" - Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)


"A Scandal in Belgravia" - Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)


"New Car Smell" - Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)


Robert L. Fish Memorial Award
For the best mystery short story by a previously unpublished author


"When They Are Done With Us" - Staten Island Noir by Patricia Smith


Mary Higgins Clark Award
For the book most closely written in the Mary Higgins Clark Tradition according to guidelines set forth by Mary Higgins Clark


Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton


A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell


The Reckoning by Jane Casey


The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub


*These titles are not currently available at Oakland Public Library, but can be borrowed using LinkPlus. If you’re new to LinkPlus, read this.


Posted on 1/26/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

New Year, New Book Award Nominations      

It’s a new year, and that means new book award nominations. Earlier in the month, the Man Asian Literary Prize, honoring the best novel by an Asian writer written in or translated into English, announced its 2012 shortlist. The nominees represent the nations of Pakistan, Japan, Turkey, Malaysia and India. You can read more about the finalists here, and the winner will be announced on March 14.


Check out the contenders!  

Silent House
by Orhan Pamuk
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng 

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil 

Between Clay and Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi (not yet available in a U.S. edition)
The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami (look for this title in our catalog in February)


The National Book Critics Circle also announced the finalists for its annual awards, and they include many popular and critically acclaimed titles from 2012. The NBCC Awards recognize the best books published in the United States in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Among the fiction finalists are Laurent Binet, whose HHhH won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. Poetry finalists include David Ferry, 2012 National Book Award Winner. Read more about all of the NBCC contenders here. The winners will be announced on February 28.


And the nominees are:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY
The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande
My Poets by Maureen N. McLane
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid
Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton
In the House of the Interpreter by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
 
BIOGRAPHY
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 by Robert A. Caro
All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen
Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece by Michael Gorra
Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus: A Biography by Lisa Jarnot

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
 
CRITICISM
Reinventing Bach by Paul Elie

Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture by Daniel Mendelsohn
Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle
Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights by Marina Warner

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young



FICTION
HHhH by Laurent Binet

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Magnificence by Lydia Millet 

NW by Zadie Smith
 
NONFICTION
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll

Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt 

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

 
POETRY
Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations by David Ferry 

On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths by Lucia Perillo

Fragile Acts by Allan Peterson
Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys by D. A. Powell
Olives by A. E. Stallings


If we don't have it at Oakland Public Library, try LinkPlus.  If you're new to LinkPlus, read this.


Three finalists for the Story Prize were also announced earlier in January. The Story Prize is an annual prize that recognizes the finest collection of short stories written in English and published in in the United States. It was originally established to recognize the short form since it is often overlooked for larger awards. This year they added an additional prize, The Story Prize Spotlight Award, to recognize an additional collection of short fiction. The first ever Spotlight Award will be given to author Krys Lee for her debut collection Drifting House. Read more about this year’s nominations here. The winner will be announced on March 13.


Check out one of the 2012 Story Prize finalists:
Stay Awake by Dan Chaon 

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins


And the winner of the 2012 Story Prize Spotlight Award:
Drifting House by Krys Lee


If that isn’t enough book award excitement for you, the Mystery Writers of America recently announced finalists for the Edgar Awards. In order to heighten the mystery, I’ll wait to post those lists next week. If you can’t handle the suspense, you can view the nominees here.


Posted on 1/20/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library.
 

Reading the Oscars

The 2013 Oscar Nominees have been announced. If you enjoy reading as much as movie watching (or more) here is a round up of books and other sources that inspired the current crop of best picture nominees.


The Movie: Argo
The Article: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran
Argo was inspired by an article by Joshuah Bearman that appeared in Wired Magazine in 2007. A new book, co-written by one of the CIA operatives involved in the rescue operation, was released just before the launch of the movie this past fall. The book is called Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio.


The Movie: Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Play: Juicy and Delicious
Lucy Alibar authored the one-act play Juicy and Delicious, and later adapted it for the film with friend and Director Benh Zeitlin. Read more about the adaptation here.


The Movie: Les Misérables
The Book: Les Misérables
The movie is based on the musical play which was based on the novel by Victor Hugo, first published in France in 1862.


The Movie: Life of Pi
The Book: Life of Pi
This 2001 novel by Yann Martel was a huge bestseller and won the Man Booker Prize.


The Movie: Lincoln
The Book: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Spielberg’s film is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestselling nonfiction book, Team of Rivals. Read about the adaptation and Goodwin's reaction to the film here.  


The Movie: The Silver Linings Playbook
The Book: The Silver Linings Playbook
When this novel by Matthew Quick came out in 2008, Publishers Weekly called it a "touching and funny debut" and Kirkus Reviews declared it "immensely likable".


Amour, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty are all original screenplays. In addition to receiving nominations for best picture, all three have been nominated for best original screenplay.


Check us out on Pinterest! You can view this list plus more at pinterest.com/oaklandlibrary/.


Posted on 1/10/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in January

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
by Ayana Mathis
This debut novel chronicles the life of Hattie Shepherd, a young woman who migrates from the South to Philadelphia, and the lives of her children. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was originally scheduled for release this month, but when the book was selected for Oprah’s Book Club the publisher moved the date up to early December. The novel is receiving rave reviews, even from the hard-to-please New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani, who compared Mathis’ work to that of Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich.


Tenth of December: Stories
by George Saunders
George Saunders is a writer of satirical fiction and essays who is perennially compared to Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain. Six of the stories in this collection have appeared in The New Yorker, and the title story was included in The Best American Short Stories 2012 and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. Booklist calls the stories in Tenth of December “unpredictable, stealthily funny, and complexly affecting” and Publishers Weekly posits that “behind Saunders's comic talents, he might be the most compassionate writer working today.”


Habits of the House
by Fay Weldon
Habits of the House is aimed squarely at Downton Abbey fans. The novel is the first in a planned trilogy following the domestic dramas of a titled family and their household in Edwardian England. Weldon wrote the pilot for the original Upstairs Downstairs series, so she is uniquely qualified to tell this type of story.


Truth in Advertising
by John Kenney
This debut by New Yorker contributor Kenney centers around a disillusioned ad writer who learns that his abusive father is dying; he decides to reconnect with his estranged family while juggling the daunting work assignment of creating a smash Super Bowl commercial for a brand of eco-friendly diapers. Booklist calls it a “masterful blend of wit and seriousness, stunning in its honesty” and reviewers recommend it for fans of Nick Hornby and Jonathan Tropper.


A Deeper Love Inside
by Sister Souljah
A Deeper Love Inside is a raw, gritty tale that continues the story that began with The Coldest Winter Ever. The novel follows the trials of the Winter’s younger sister, Porsche Santiaga. Following the incarceration of her parents, Porsche lands in a group home and is ultimately incarcerated herself. Readers of urban fiction have been waiting for this one for years. (Unfamiliar with urban fiction? Read this.)


Umbrella
by Will Self
The U.S. release of this novel has been anticipated by American readers since it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in September. Self’s latest takes place in a mental institution in 1970’s England, where a doctor tries to revive a catatonic patient whose life story unfolds in the process. Kirkus Reviews calls Umbrella “brainy and outlandish” and says it is “uncompromising and relentless in the demands it makes upon the reader, yet there's a lyrical, rhapsodic element that continually pulls one into and through the narrative.”


A Memory of Light
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
A Memory of Light is the concluding 14th volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic fantasy series, famous for complex plots and numerous characters. The Wheel of Time books have achieved both popular and critical success: many volumes have reached number one on the New York Times Bestseller List, and the series has been compared to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Jordan passed away in 2007, and the final volumes have resulted from a collaborative effort by Brandon Sanderson and the late author’s widow, using material Jordan left for that purpose. Fans will be thrilled that the wait for the final volume is over! If you’re new to this series, it starts with 1990’s The Eye of the World (although there is also a prequel, New Spring, from 2004).


The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier
Historical Novelist Chevalier, best known for The Girl with the Pearl Earring, has a new novel that follows the mid-19th century life of an English Quaker girl who escapes a broken engagement by fleeing to Ohio, where she becomes involved with the Underground Railroad. Publishers Weekly calls it a “thought-provoking, lyrical novel” and Library Journal gives it a starred review.


The Illicit Happiness of Other People
by Manu Joseph
Set in early 1990s Madras, India, a reporter obsessively investigates the suicidal death of his teenage son, searching for clues among his child’s unfinished artworks and comics and interrogating his friends. Kirkus Reviews praises Joseph’s “extraordinary wit, cunning and sympathy about both family relationships and ultimate mysteries.” His debut novel, Serious Men, was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Award and was on the Huffington Post’s list of 10 Best Books of 2010.


The Miniature Wife: And Other Stories
by Gonzales, Manuel
Gonzales offers a debut collection of short stories that infuse the mundane with fantastic and bizarre elements that are “rife with ingenuity and beholden to few rules” (Kirkus Reviews). Publishers Weekly gave the collection a starred review, saying that “with commendable skill, Gonzales seamlessly blends the real and the fantastic, resulting in a fun and provocative collection that readers will want to devour.” Read or listen to a preview here.


Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!


Posted on 1/2/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

Oakland Public Library “Best Sellers” List

Here’s a current list of the books with the most holds in the OPL catalog. Your holds nudge us to purchase more copies, so don’t hesitate to get in line!


FICTION



  1. Telegraph Avenue
    by Michael Chabon
    When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth richest black man in America, decides to open his newest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy, the owners of Brokeland Records, fear for their business until Gibson's endeavor exposes a decades-old secret history.

  2. The Casual Vacancy
    by J.K. Rowling
    When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils, Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

  3. Flight Behavior
    by Barbara Kingsolver
    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on an ailing farm, she has settled for permament disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man.

  4. The Black Box
    by Michael Connelly
    In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the 'black box,' the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.

  5. Sweet Tooth
    by Ian McEwan
    Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.

  6. The Racketeer
    by John Grisham
    When a federal judge and his secretary fail to appear for a scheduled trial and panicked clerks call for an FBI investigation, a harrowing murder case ensues and culminates in the imprisonment of a lawyer who imparts the story of who killed the judge and why.

  7. The Round House
    by Louise Erdrich
    When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

  8. This Is How You Lose Her
    by Junot Díaz
    Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

  9. Cloud Atlas
    by David Mitchell
    Recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world.

  10. The Mark of Athena
    by Rick Riordan
    The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land--Greece itself--to find the Doors of Death.

 NONFICTION



  1. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
    by Andrew Solomon
    Explores the consequences of extreme personal differences between parents and children, describing his own experiences as a gay child of straight parents while evaluating the circumstances of people affected by physical, developmental, or cultural factors that divide families.

  2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
    by Cheryl Strayed
    A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.

  3. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    An analysis of Abraham Lincoln's political talents identifies the character strengths and abilities that enabled his successful election above three accomplished candidates, in an account that also describes how he used the same abilities to rally former opponents in forming his cabinet and winning the Civil War. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time.

  4. The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail-- But Some Don't
    by Nate Silver
    Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair's breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction.

  5. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    by Paul Tough
    Challenges conventional views about standardized testing to argue that success is more determined by self-discipline, character and optimism, describing the work of pioneering researchers and educators whose insights into childhood stress and economic disadvantages have enabled effective new teaching methods.

  6. How to Be a Woman
    by Caitlin Moran
    Piecing together common-sense observations with scenes from her own life, a major media personality in the UK sheds new light on feminism, discussing the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues for both women and society itself.

  7. Hallucinations
    by Oliver Sacks
    An investigation into the types, physiological sources, and cultural resonances of hallucinations traces everything from the disorientations of sleep and intoxication to the manifestations of injury and illness.

  8. The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
    by Jeffrey Toobin
    The prize-winning author of The Nine presents a dramatic insider's account of what is identified as an ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration, tracing several landmark cases and the strong views that will be shaping the Court of the near future.

  9. Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else
    by Chrystia Freeland
    A journalist and industry specialist for Reuters examines the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, taking a non-partisan look into the businesspeople who are amassing colossal fortunes and preferring the company of similar people around the world. 

  10. Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success
    by Madeline Levine
    Focusing on views of success and child rearing, a renowned psychologist combines cutting-edge research with thirty years of clinical experience to explain how to shift focus to a parenting style that promotes academic success, a sense of purpose, and meaning in life.

Posted on 12/21/2012 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

It’s that time of year again…

This is the season for end-of-the-year book lists, where book reviewers highlight the “best” books of the year. These lists are usually dominated by literary fiction and serious nonfiction, but they can also venture beyond that to include popular titles, Young Adult books and graphic novels. Sometimes snarky rebuttals to these best-of lists follow, such as Slate Magazine’s Overlooked Books of 2012.

I use these lists as a good reminder of some of the books I’ve meant to read over the last 12 months but haven’t found the time. I’m hoping to tackle a couple over the last couple of weeks of the year.  

What are your favorite books of 2012?

Posted on 12/15/2012 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in December


  • December’s most high-profile debut novel comes from Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of TV’s Law and Order series. The Intercept sounds like a nail-biter. So far this thriller about a NYPD Intelligence officer trying to thwart a terrorist plot is receiving enthusiastic praise from reviewers and will probably continue to get lots of media attention.

  • Me Before You is the second novel from British author Jojo Moyes, in which a young caretaker attempts to quash the suicidal plans of her quadriplegic patient, a former playboy, adventurer and business tycoon. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “a lovely novel, both nontraditional and enthralling.”

  • Sebastian Faulks, bestselling author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, has a new collection of five linked novellas called A Possible Life. Library Journal gushes, “Faulks's literary artistry is on gorgeous display.”  Publishers Weekly calls it “intensely absorbing.”

  • Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, has a new book for English language readers: Pow!, originally published in his native China in 2003. Pre-publication reviews in the U.S. have yet to materialize, but an excerpt was published in the November 26 issue of the New Yorker for those looking for a preview.

  • Chris Ewan, popular author of the “Good Thief” series, comic mysteries featuring professional burglar and mystery writer Charlie Howard in various global hotspots (such as 2012’s The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice), has a new stand-alone mystery called Safe House. This book’s tone sounds much less lighthearted than Ewan’s usual: a man who has just experienced a motorcycle crash tries to piece together a knotty mystery that clashes with his personal memory. “With its well-structured plot, crisp dialogue, and moral ambiguities, this is a compelling mystery that could win him new fans.” (Booklist)

  • A Hollywood studio executive plunges into depression and claws his way out of it by leaving his life and family behind and travelling the globe in Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, a fiction debut from screenwriter and journalist Juliann Garey. Library Journal calls it “A compelling read” and Kirkus Reviews declares “Garey breathes life into an uncomfortable and often misunderstood subject and creates a riveting experience.”

  • Jose Saramago’s Raised from the Ground was first published in 1980 and is only now available in English. This mid-career work by the late Nobel Prize winning author, a story of feudal life on farms in Southern Portugal, is considered both deeply personal and stylistically significant.

  • Another work posthumously published in translation comes from renowned Mexican author Carlos Fuentes: a clever satire called Adam in Eden. Although it is not one of his major works, “Fuentes's humor and keen eye make it quite rewarding,” according to Publishers Weekly.

  • New Yorker contributor Tessa Hadley has a new collection of fiction called Married Love and Other Stories. Her last novel, The London Train, was selected as one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s best books of 2011—now Married Love is on the just-released New York Times list of Notable Books for 2012.

  • Canadian writer Zsuzsi Gartner’s latest collection of satirical stories, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011, and is now available in the U.S. According to Publisher’s Weekly, these stories “rollick into the depths of dark humor and absurdity.”  Booklist calls it “saturated with pop-culture references and intellectually hilarious.”

Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!


Posted on 12/1/2012 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

Oakland Public Library “Best Sellers” List

Here’s a current list of the books with the most holds in the OPL catalog. Your holds nudge us to purchase more copies, so don’t hesitate to get in line!


FICTION



  1. Telegraph Avenue
    by Michael Chabon
    When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth richest black man in America, decides to open his newest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy, the owners of Brokeland Records, fear for their business until Gibson's endeavor exposes a decades-old secret history.

  2. The Casual Vacancy
    by J.K. Rowling
    When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils, Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

  3. Flight Behavior
    by Barbara Kingsolver
    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on an ailing farm, she has settled for permament disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man.

  4. Cloud Atlas
    by David Mitchell
    Recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world.

  5. Gone Girl
    by Gillian Flynn
    On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick's wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife?

  6. This Is How You Lose Her
    by Junot Díaz
    Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

  7. The Mark of Athena
    by Rick Riordan
    The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land--Greece itself--to find the Doors of Death.

  8. The Racketeer
    by John Grisham
    When a federal judge and his secretary fail to appear for a scheduled trial and panicked clerks call for an FBI investigation, a harrowing murder case ensues and culminates in the imprisonment of a lawyer who imparts the story of who killed the judge and why.

  9. The Round House
    by Louise Erdrich
    When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

  10. Sweet Tooth
    by Ian McEwan
    Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.

NONFICTION



  1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
    by Cheryl Strayed
    A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.

  2. The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail--But Some Don't
    by Nate Silver
    Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair's breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction.

  3. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    by Paul Tough
    Challenges conventional views about standardized testing to argue that success is more determined by self-discipline, character and optimism, describing the work of pioneering researchers and educators whose insights into childhood stress and economic disadvantages have enabled effective new teaching methods.

  4. How to Be a Woman
    by Caitlin Moran
    Piecing together common-sense observations with scenes from her own life, a major media personality in the UK sheds new light on feminism, discussing the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues for both women and society itself.

  5. Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else
    by Chrystia Freeland
    A journalist and industry specialist for Reuters examines the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, taking a non-partisan look into the businesspeople who are amassing colossal fortunes and preferring the company of similar people around the world. 

  6. Joseph Anton: A Memoir
    by Salman Rushdie
    The Booker Prize-winning former president of American PEN shares the extraordinary story of how he was forced underground for more than nine years after he was sentenced to holy death by the Ayatollah Khomeini for his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, describing how his family and he constantly moved and were under police protection in a dangerous life at the forefront of the battle for free speech.

  7. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
    by Andrew Solomon
    Explores the consequences of extreme personal differences between parents and children, describing his own experiences as a gay child of straight parents while evaluating the circumstances of people affected by physical, developmental, or cultural factors that divide families.

  8. The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
    by Jeffrey Toobin
    The prize-winning author of The Nine presents a dramatic insider's account of what is identified as an ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration, tracing several landmark cases and the strong views that will be shaping the Court of the near future.

  9. Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success
    by Madeline Levine
    Focusing on views of success and child rearing, a renowned psychologist combines cutting-edge research with thirty years of clinical experience to explain how to shift focus to a parenting style that promotes academic success, a sense of purpose, and meaning in life.

  10. Mortality
    by Christopher Hitchens
    The author Hitch-22 describes his losing battle with esophageal cancer while writing columns for Vanity Fair on politics and culture and also describing his personal and philosophical view of life and death.

Posted on 11/21/2012 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library

2012 National Book Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2012 winners of the National Book Awards, announced last night.


Fiction: Louise Erdrich, The Round House


Nonfiction: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity


Poetry: David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations


Young People's Literature: William Alexander, Goblin Secrets


 


Read more about the awards here and here.


Posted on 11/15/12 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library