Spot-Lit for April 2014

Spot-Lit

Lots of good fiction is headed your way this month. Click the titles below and then the Full Display button to read summaries or reviews or to place titles on hold.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction    

American Romantic    Frog Music    Storied Life    Lovers at the Chameleon Club    Plover

American Romantic  by Ward Just
Frog Music  by Emma Donoghue
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  by Gabrielle Zevin
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932  by Francine Prose
The Plover  by Brian Doyle

First Novels / Fiction

Whiskey Barons    Past the Shalllows    Sedition    Steal the Summer    Skookum

The Whiskey Baron  by Jon Sealy
Past the Shallows  by Favel Parrett
Sedition  by Katharine Grant
Steal the North  by Heather Bergstrom
Skookum Summer  by Jack Hart

Crime Fiction /Suspense

Until You're Mine    Destroyer Angel    Waiting for Wednesday    Cold Nowhere    By Its Cover

Until You’re Mine  by Samantha Hayes
Destroyer Angel  by Nevada Barr
Waiting for Wednesday  by Nicci French
The Cold Nowhere  by Brian Freeman
By Its Cover  by Donna Leon

SF / Fantasy / Horror

Goblin Emperor    Bird Eater    Days of the Deer    Afterparty    Battle Royale

The Goblin Emperor  by Katherine Addison
The Bird Eater  by Ania Ahlborn
The Days of the Deer  by Liliana Bodoc
Afterparty  by Daryl Gregory
Battle Royale – Remastered  by Koushun Takami  

Romance

                            Bet    Hotelles    Far Gone

The Bet  by Rachel Van Dyken
Hotelles  by Emma Mars
Far Gone  by Laura Griffin

To see all on-order fiction, click here.

Spot-Lit for March 2014

Spot-Lit

Here’s our hand-picked list of fiction titles coming out in March. Click the titles below and then the Full Display button to read summaries or reviews or to place holds.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction  

Bark    Orchard of Lost Souls    Curse on Dost    Blazing World    Boy, Snow, Bird

Bark: stories  by Lorrie Moore
The Orchard of Lost Souls  by Nadifa Mohamed
A Curse on Dostoevsky  by Atiq Rahimi
The Blazing World  by Siri Hustvedt
Boy, Snow, Bird  by Helen Oyeyemi

First Fiction

Redeployment    Burnable Book    Wives of Los Alamos    Precious Thing    Weight of Blood

Redeployment  by Phil Klay
A Burnable Book  by Bruce Holsinger
The Wives of Los Alamos  by Tarashea Nesbit
Precious Thing  by Colette McBeth
The Weight of Blood  by Laura McHugh

Crime Fiction /Suspense

Accident    Disappeared    Why Kings Confess    Black-Eyed Blonde    Watching You

The Accident  by Chris Pavone
The Disappeared  by Kristina Ohlsson
Why Kings Confess  by C.S. Harris
The Black-Eyed Blonde  by Benjamin Black
Watching You  by Michael Robotham

SF / Fantasy / Horror

Man Came Out    Undead Pool    Murder of Crows    Trpoic of Serpents    Code Zero

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain  by Adrianne Harun
The Undead Pool  by Kim Harrison
A Murder of Crows  by Anne Bishop
The Tropic of Serpents  by Marie Brennan
Code Zero  by Jonathan Maberry

Romance

                    Evening Stars          Replacement Wife          Love Comes Calling

Evening Stars  by Susan Mallery
The Replacement Wife  by Tiffany Warren
Love Comes Calling  by Siri Mitchell

To see all on-order fiction, click here.

Spot-Lit for February 2014

Spot-Lit

Lots of good fiction is coming out this February, including many strong debuts. Click the titles below and then the Full Display button to read reviews or to place titles on hold.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction 

Still Life Bread Crumbs    I Shall Be Near to You    Unnecessary Woman    Golden State    I Always Loved You

Still Life with Bread Crumbs  by Anna Quindlen
I Shall Be Near to You  by Erin McCabe
An Unnecessary Woman  by Rabih Alameddine
Golden State  by Michelle Richmond
I Always Loved You  by Robin Oliveira 

First Fiction

Spinning Heart    Archetype    Dust    While Beauty Slept    One More Thing

The Spinning Heart  by Donal Ryan
Archetype  by M.D. Waters
Dust  by Yvonne Owuor
While Beauty Slept  by Elizabeth Blackwell
One More Thing  by B.J. Novak

Crime Fiction / Suspense

Runner    Cold Storage    After I'm Gone    Officer and a Spy    Poisoned Pawn

Runner  by Patrick Lee
Cold Storage, Alaska  by John Straley
After I’m Gone  by Laura Lippman
An Officer and a Spy  by Robert Harris
The Poisoned Pawn  by Peggy Blair

SF / Fantasy / Horror

Annihilation    Darkling Sea    Martian    Influx    Red Rising

Annihilation  by Jeff Vandermeer
A Darkling Sea  by James Cambias  (debut)
The Martian  by Andy Weir  (debut)
Influx  by Daniel Suarez
Red Rising  by Pierce Brown  (debut)

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.

Spot-Lit for January 2014

Spot-Lit

The books listed below are some of the most buzzed and highly anticipated fiction of the month. Click the titles and then the Full Display button to read summaries or reviews or to place titles on hold.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction 

Under the Wide and Starry Sky    Orfeo    Carthage    Wind Is Not a River     Perfect

Under the Wide and Starry Sky  by Nancy Horan

Orfeo  by Richard Powers

Carthage  by Joyce Carol Oates

The Wind Is Not a River  by Brian Payton

Perfect  by Rachel Joyce

First Fiction

Shovel Ready    Kept    Radiance of Tomorrow    Last Days of Califormia    What I Had Before I Had You

Shovel Ready  by Adam Sternbergh

The Kept  by James Scott

Radiance of Tomorrow  by Ishmael Beah

The Last Days of California  by Mary Miller

What I Had Before I Had You  by Sarah Cornwell

Crime Fiction / Suspense

             Last Death of Jack Harbin    The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches    Dead Mans Fancy    Purity of Vengeance

The Last Death of Jack Harbin  by Terry Shames

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches  by C. Alan Bradley

Dead Man’s Fancy  by Keith McCafferty

The Purity of Vengeance  by Jussi Adler-Olsen

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.

Spot-Lit for December 2013

Spot-Lit

Here at areadinglife, we’re getting ready to share our list of books published in 2013 that staff members have most enjoyed. Until then, take a look at our fiction buyer’s selection of notable new fiction coming your way this December.

Click the titles below to read more or to place holds.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction 

  Vatican Waltz      Brown Dog      Someone Else's      Supreme Macaroni

Vatican Waltz  by Roland Merullo
Brown Dog  by Jim Harrison
Someone Else’s Love Story  by Joshilyn Jackson
The Supreme Macaroni Company  by Adriana Trigiani

Crime Fiction / Suspense

  Innocence      Billionaire Blend      Noose      Going Dark

Innocence  by Dean Koontz
Billionaire Blend  by Cleo Coyle
Noose  by Bill James
Going Dark  by James W. Hall

First Novels

                                   Communion Town      Housemaid's Daughter

Communion Town  by Sam Thompson
The Housemaid’s Daughter  by Barbara Mutch

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.

What’s Overdue? or Books I Wish I’d Read in 2013

2013 brought a great change in my reading habits. Without any conscious choice I found myself checking out great big bunches of books, reading a little of each, and continuing with the one (or ones) that tickled my fancy. The result? I checked out a whole lotta books that I never read.

As the year came to a close, I decided to look through the books I didn’t finish in search of hidden gems. After all, I’m usually pretty excited about a book when I check it out.

So what we have today, O Brave Readers, is a list of titles that I wish I’d read in 2013, and beyond that a list of books that I pledge to read in the upcoming months. I’m actually quite excited by this prospect as I’ve never created a reading list for myself and, after all, the books are all titles that I want to read.

And with that I present:  What’s Overdue? or Books I Wish I’d Read in 2013.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
Red HarvestPulp detective stories rank among my favorites, so it is somewhat strange that I do not enjoy the highly-regarded Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Still, I want to like the writing of this legendary ink slinger. So imagine my satisfaction when I read a gushing review of Red Harvest, a story based in Hammett’s experiences as an operative for the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Butte, Montana. The main character, The Op, is called to clean up a corrupt town, Personville. But quell horreur, a woman The Op’s keen on is found murdered with an ice pick he recently handled. Now The Op must extricate himself from a murder where he is a prime suspect.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I Hunt KillersI am fascinated with fictional serial killers. One of my favorites, Dexter, only kills really bad people… usually… and we generally like and sympathize with him even though HE KILLS A REALLY LOT OF PEOPLE AND CUTS THEM UP! But we like him. Now there’s a YA book, I Hunt Killers, about a nice teenager named Jazz whose father is an infamous serial killer. He even forces Jazz to witness (and perhaps participate in?) his killings. Jazz begins to wonder if he is destined to follow in daddy’s footsteps. As dark as this all sounds, the book is described as being consistently hilarious. Comedy and serial killing – it makes my list!

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett
Gideon SmithI consider myself a trend-bucker, but steampunk has me by the islets of Langerhans. If there’s a zeppelin, silly old-fashioned names and adventure, well sir, I want to read about it. Set it in England, all the better! In Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, Queen Victoria rules most of the world, including the east coast of America. Gideon loves penny dreadfuls penned by Lucian Trigger, and when his father disappears he commences a long journey to London to find Captain Trigger. Along the way he meets Bram Stoker (who blames vampires for the father’s disappearance), mummies, and a clockwork girl.  And upon finding Captain Trigger, a further journey to Egypt leads to encounters with sky-pirates, frog-faced hordes, and a variety of historical characters. Will Gideon be the hero that Victoria’s empire needs?

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Dog StarsIn a world where most people have been killed by influenza, Hig and his dog fly a 1956 Cessna around their abandoned airfield in a small corner of the land formerly known as Colorado. One day he receives a radio transmission and Hig decides to give up the life he’s been living in order to find the broadcast’s source. Thus begins an adventure filled with risk, shattered hopes and potential happiness.


Snapper
 by Brian Kimberling
SnapperI’ve always loved stories set in the cozy small towns that probably never really existed. Add quirky characters to the mix and I’m sold. In Snapper we find Nathan, a bird researcher, arriving in a small Indiana town filled with peculiar citizens and animals. Here, in one place, he finds both love and “Thong Thursdays”. But mostly he finds birds and an ever-unfolding life heading down unexpected paths.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Books I Wish I’d Read in 2013!

Spot-Lit for November 2013

Spot-Lit

Some of the new releases we’re especially looking forward to this month include Sebastian Faulks revival of Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster; a powerful family drama centered around the practice of fracking (Fractures); a penetrating look at our consumer culture and the world of “stuff” – wanted or not (Want Not); and the return of popular Amy Tan. Among first novels, we have a laid-off war correspondent tracking down her friend’s killer in Big Sky country (Montana); two highly-praised historical novels; and the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade (The Dinosaur Feather). Speaking of crime, Paretsky, Bruen, Smith and Spencer-Fleming are always known to deliver. As is Gene Wolfe, in the Fantasy genre, and his new book sounds particularly fine. Elsewhere in SF/Fantasy, Cherie Priest wraps up her Clockwork Century steampunk series, and an alternative history of the 20th century featuring an alien-engineered peace is guaranteed to shake you up (Burning Paradise). Finally, if the spirit of Halloween is still haunting you, check out the gothic Victorian thriller Rustication.

Click the titles below to read more or to place them on hold.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction  

Jeeves     Fractures     Want Not     Valley of Amazement

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells  by Sebastian Faulks
Fractures  by Lamar Herrin
Want Not  by Jonathan Miles
The Valley of Amazement  by Amy Tan

First Novels

Montana     Dinosaur Feather     Red Sky in Morning     Cartographer

Montana  by Gwen Florio
The Dinosaur Feather  by S.J. Gazan
Red Sky in Morning  by Paul Lynch
The Cartographer of No Man’s Land  by P.S. Duffy

Crime Fiction / Suspense

Tatiana     Critical Mass     Purgatory     Through the Evil Days

Tatiana  by Martin Cruz Smith
Critical Mass  by Sara Paretsky
Purgatory  by Ken Bruen
Through the Evil Days  by Julia Spencer-Fleming

SF / Fantasy / Horror

Land Across     Fiddlehead     Burning Paradise     Rustication

The Land Across  by Gene Wolfe
Fiddlehead  by Cherie Priest
Burning Paradise  by Robert Charles Wilson
Rustication  by Charles Palliser

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.

Spot-Lit for October 2013

Spot-Lit

Here’s our fiction selector’s picks for October releases based on early reviews.

And quite a variety it is. From a Kite Runner read-alike set in Croatia (The Hired Man), to going below-stairs with the servants of Pride and Prejudice (Longbourn), to Dan Simmon’s latest icy thriller, to the first new novel from Donna Tartt in over a decade. In the crime category find previously unpublished stories by Grand Master veteran Lawrence Block, and a new thriller from the redoubtable George Pelecanos (who you may know for his scriptwriting in The Wire). Fantasy author Stephen Donaldson wraps up his long-running, ten-volume Thomas Covenant series, and Mercedes Lackey similarly delivers the goods in her latest Valdemar novel. Fans of speculative short fiction should take a look at Rachel Swirsky’s How the World Became Quiet.

Finally, a mention of a highly anticipated debut featuring the unlikely romance between a genetics professor and a barmaid (The Rosie Project), a set-up not unlike that in Courting Greta – another acclaimed debut we Spot-Lit this past June.

That’s only touching on some of these selections – click on the titles below for additional information or to place items on hold.  Happy reading!

General Fiction / Literary Fiction 

Longbourn     Hired Man     Goldfinch     Two Hotel Francforts

Longbourn  by Jo Baker

The Hired Man  by Aminatta Forna

The Goldfinch  by Donna Tartt

The Two Hotel Francforts  by David Leavitt

First Fiction

Rosie Project     Night Guest     Paris Architect     Last Animal

The Rosie Project  by Graeme Simsion

The Night Guest  by Fiona McFarlane

The Paris Architect  by Charles Belfoure

The Last Animal  by Abby Geni

Crime Fiction / Suspense

Abominable     Catch and Release     Pagan Spring     Double

Abominable  by Dan Simmons

Catch and Release  by Lawrence Block

Pagan Spring  by G.M. Malliet

The Double  by George Pelecanos

SF / Fantasy / Horror

Last Dark     How the World Became Quiet     Bastion     Wolves

The Last Dark  by Stephen R. Donaldson

How the World Became Quiet  by Rachel Swirsky

Bastion  by Mercedes Lackey

The Wolves of Midwinter  by Anne Rice

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.

Movie’s Better V: Noir Edition

Double I stillOften, when I’m in the right (or wrong) mood, I’ll raise some Cain…James M, that is. He perfected the hard-boiled literary style: books about crime & criminals written with precision, brutality, and distance.The adaptation of one of his masterpieces, Double Indemnity, however is an improvement. This would be a pretty short blog post if it wasn’t, wouldn’t it?

After World War Two, we lifted an embargo and our books and movies flooded into France. Perceptive, they sensed trends in theme and style and labeled the books a “serie noir” and the movies “film noir.” The books, by authors like Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, and Horace McCoy, are considered classics of the hard-boiled style. The films comprise a movement that is considered the most artistically important in American film history.

Double I CoverIn 1939, James M. Cain wrote Double Indemnity, a novel as elegant and brutal as a rusty nail about an insurance cheat perpetrated by a wife, with help of a clever, but weak-kneed insurance man. Like the film, it’s told from the perspective of our doomed anti-hero.
The 1944 adaptation is considered the most important film in the film noir style. Not only was it directed by one of cinema’s greats, Billy Wilder. But he and his writing partner Brackett had none other than Raymond Chandler to improve the story and add his inkily cynical humor to a story that richly benefits from it.

A line from the novel: “Maybe that don’t mean to you what it meant to me. Well, in the first place, accident insurance is sold, not bought. You get calls for other kinds, for fire, for burglary, even for life, but never accident. That stuff moves when agents move it, and it sounds funny to be asked about it.”

Double I Movie PosterAn exchange from the film: “Walter Neff: You’ll be here too? Phyllis: I guess so, I usually am. Walter Neff: Same chair, same perfume, same anklet? Phyllis: I wonder if I know what you mean. Walter Neff: I wonder if you wonder.”

It’s easy to see that the film greatly improves the verbal style. But what of the visual style? Roger Ebert lauds: “The photography by John F. Seitz helped develop the noir style of sharp-edged shadows and shots, strange angles and lonely Edward Hopper settings.”

And we know it’s a classic, but how was it received in 1944? Alfred Hitchcock (yeah, him): “Since Double Indemnity, the two most important words in motion pictures are ‘Billy’ and ‘Wilder.’”

Come see what they were (and what we will be) talking about in our “Best of the Best” film series, as we screen and discuss Double Indemnity on Wednesday, September 25th at 1:30 PM. A repeat screening at 6:30. See what’s playing and cast your vote today at http://www.epls.org/films/.

Spot-Lit for September 2013

Spot-Lit

To read reviews or place holds, click the titles below then click the Full Display button.

General Fiction / Literary Fiction 

Dissident Gardens    Enon    Lowland    Woman Who Lost Her Soul    Maids Version

Dissident Gardens  by Jonathan Lethem

Enon  by Paul Harding

The Lowland  Jhumpa Lahiri

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul  by Bob Shacochis

The Maid’s Version  by Daniel Woodrell

First Novels

Edge of Normal       Burial Rites       Just What Kind of Mother Are You       Alex

The Edge of Normal  by Carla Norton

Burial Rites  by Hannah Kent

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?  by Paula Daly

Alex  by Pierre Lemaitre

Crime Fiction / Suspense

Execution       Strangled in Paris       Then We Take Berlin

Execution  by Adrian Magson

Strangled in Paris  by Claude Izner

Then We Take Berlin  by John Lawton

SF and Fantasy

Maddaddam       Mage's Blood       Gideon Smith       Vicious

MaddAddam  by Margaret Atwood

Mage’s Blood  by David Hair

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl  by David Barnett

Vicious  by V.E. Schwab

Romance and Western

Tear You Apart        Blackmoore       Rebellious Heart       Wreaths of Glory

Tear You Apart  by Megan Hart

Blackmoore  by Julie Donaldson

Rebellious Heart  by Jody Hedlund

Wreaths of Glory  by Johnny Boggs

To see all the on-order fiction, click here.