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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Edge Of Eternity
by Ken Follett

Book list Those eagerly awaiting volume three of Follett's ambitious Century Trilogy will not be disappointed. Despite the long wait Winter of the World was published in 2012 both the history propelling the multiple plots and the third generation of the interrelated cast of characters are so familiar, readers should have no trouble picking up the threads of the story line left dangling at the end of the previous installment. Spanning the globe and the latter third of twentieth century, this saga continues to follow the lives and loves of the members of five global families, as they struggle against a backdrop of tumultuous international events. As the years roll by, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall, the assassination of JFK, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the crumbling of communism are intimately viewed through the eyes and emotions of a representative array of witnesses to history. Follett does an outstanding job of interweaving and personalizing complicated narratives set on a multicultural stage. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Follett needs no hard sell. The previous two installments of the ambitious Century Trilogy were best-sellers; expect no less from this superb concluding chapter.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Library Journal The final volume in Follett's latest trilogy (after Fall of Giants and Winter of the World) is worth the wait. The formula is the same as in previous books: the continuing history of five families, now conflated into four-British, American, German, Russian-traced against the background of dramatic public events. The second book ended in 1948 with the Rosenberg spy trial, and now Follett starts in 1961, when Rebecca Hoffman learns an unpleasant truth about her East German husband. George Jakes, the biracial son of a white senator from the previous volume, is hired by the White House as window dressing-the Kennedys mustn't look like bigots-but soon becomes a trusted aide to Bobby Kennedy. Thus he witnesses what goes on in the -Kennedy White House and in the civil rights campaign. German families are separated for decades by the Berlin Wall. Two grandchildren-German and English-form a successful rock band, our entree to the everything-goes 1960s. Follett covers all the bases in this sprawling, energetic novel. Bad things abound, but, the tone is upbeat. The book ends with the televising of Obama's 2008 election speech. Watching with his family, George has tears in his eyes for the fallen martyrs who made the event possible. VERDICT Once again, Follett has written pitch-perfect popular fiction that readers will devour. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (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 the ambitious, commanding capstone to his multigenerational Century Trilogy (after Winter of the World), Follett expertly chronicles the pivotal events of the closing decades of the 20th century through the eyes of a vast array of deftly-drawn characters, all suffering the slings and arrows of a world marred by war and global unrest. Among them is Rebecca Hoffman, a good-natured school teacher in Communist Berlin, who discovers in 1961 that her secretive husband, Hans, is a clandestine Stasi agent and has been spying on her for years. When she eventually confronts him, he angrily vows to destroy her family. Elsewhere, mixed-race, civil-rights-minded George Jakes forsakes a lucrative law career to work for Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, then battles racial inequality as a congressman. Dmitri "Dimka" Dvorkin, an aide to Nikita Khrushchev, finds himself embroiled in heated U.S.-Soviet nuclear political power plays and his sister, Tanya, thrusts herself into the fray of governmental global turmoil. Cameron Dewar, a senator's grandson, also becomes politically active with espionage on his mind while Rebecca's brother, the musician Walli, must choose between a rising-star career in rock-and-roll and his pregnant lover, Karolin. Sweeping through the Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan administrations, Follett's smooth page-turner concludes in 2008 with an epilogue set on the night of President Obama's electoral victory. This mesmerizing final installment is an exhaustive but rewarding reading experience dense in thematic heft, yet flowing with spicy, expertly paced melodrama, character-rich exploits, familial histrionics, and international intrigue. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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

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.

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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 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog You Against Me
by Downham, Jenny

Book list *Starred Review* Mikey's 15-year-old sister, Karyn, is holed up in the family's apartment, unwilling to go out or see anyone since accusing an older boy of sexual assault. Feeling helpless and outraged, Mikey vows to seek revenge for his sister, even as the court case against Tom Parker continues. Meanwhile, Tom's sister, Ellie, the only witness to the alleged crime, feels unsure about her statement to the police. When Mikey (who at first hides his identity) meets Ellie, their attraction to each other only exacerbates matters. The family dynamics of their very different home lives powerfully dictate the moves each makes: Mikey lives with a drunken single mother in subsidized housing, while Ellie comes from a family of privilege. Ellie's dilemma is especially harrowing, threatening to separate her from one or both of her parents as the day of her testimony approaches. Each time, Ellie and Mikey draw close, pull apart, then draw close again, Downham puts readers inside their heads, feeling and understanding their complicated emotions as she masterfully shifts points of view. This excellent sophomore effort from the author of Before I Die (2007) should have broad appeal for teens looking for weighty issues tied to their romance.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly After Mikey's 15-year-old younger sister Karyn accuses college student Tom Parker of raping her, Mikey plans to avenge her. But when he goes to the Parkers' sprawling house, heavy spanner in hand, he meets Tom's younger sister, Ellie, and an attraction sparks between them. Downham's (Before I Die) sophomore novel is set in coastal England, and while there's a fair amount of detail about the English legal and school systems, as well as regional vernacular, the book's powerful themes are universal. As Mikey and Ellie's relationship deepens, and both feel forced to choose "sides," they struggle with their loyalty to their families, their feelings for one another, and broader issues of class, gender, and power. Well-drawn characters allow readers to sympathize with nearly everyone; Ellie, "the primary witness," is in a particularly difficult spot as she begins to waver about testifying for her brother ("I keep going over and over that night in my head and more stuff comes back to me, more things fit into place," she says). With no tidy solutions, it's an unflinching portrayal of love under pressure. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Mikey's life is a juggling act: Mum spends her days and nights with cheap sherry, seven-year-old sister Holly needs help getting to school each day, and Mikey is working at a menial job that offers the hope of a tantalizing career. He faces further complications when his 15-year-old sister, Karyn, completely withdraws, suffering the devastating aftermath of a rape by Tom Parker. Ellie Parker has always been a quiet little nerd until she witnesses her brother's brutal sexual assault of her classmate. The pressure from her family to protect Tom at all costs has forced her into the position of fabricating a statement to the police about what she knows. For both Mikey and Ellie, the balancing act of their personal lives becomes more precarious when they meet. They are drawn to each other but are torn between family solidarity, an inability to trust any member of the enemy's family, and the feelings of their hearts. Downham brilliantly captures the struggle of these two star-crossed lovers as they navigate the stormy waters of family loyalty, social workers and legal systems, job and school. With touching honesty, she brings her characters to life in this poignant story of love and choice. Mesmerizing.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Gulag: A History
by Anne Applebaum

Book list We have massive amounts of data about the Nazi concentration and death camps, ranging from memoirs of survivors to incredibly detailed records kept by Nazi officials. The Nazi camps lasted just over a decade. On the other hand, the vast system of confinement, forced labor, and executions dubbed the "Gulag Archipelago" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn lasted almost 70 years, and we are just beginning to get a comprehensive picture of this affront to the human spirit. Applebaum is a former Marshall scholar and is now a journalist who covered the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the gradual opening of KGB archives, the full horror of the Gulag is gradually emerging, and Applebaum has done a masterful job of chronicling the origin, growth, and eventual end of this monstrous system. Contrary to the beliefs of many, the Gulag was not a product of the Stalin era. Both Lenin and Trotsky staunchly backed the creation of these camps as a useful tool in their promotion of "Red Terror." Under Stalin, of course, the camps were greatly expanded, both as a repository for the victims of his various purges and as a vital component, via slave labor, in industrialization. Like the Nazi camps, the Gulag became a virtual industrial complex. Now, we are left with the evidence, the memory of survivors, and the moral obligation to uncover the full story. This brilliant and often heartbreaking work is a giant step in the fulfillment of that obligation. --Jay Freeman

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

Publishers Weekly Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part of the country, and slave labor was used not only for mining and heavy industries but for producing every kind of consumer product (chairs, lamps, toys, those ubiquitous fur hats) and some of the country's most important science and engineering (Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet space program, began his work in a special prison laboratory). Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum's lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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

Library Journal Subsequent to Solzhenitsyn's landmark Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Applebaun, former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and currently on the editorial staff at the Washington Post, has captured the full brutality and economic engine for the Soviet state that was the Gulag prison system. This book is perfectly timed to follow such recent works as Golfo Alexopoulos's Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State 1926-1936. With a finely honed writer's skill, Applebaum thoroughly describes in minute detail the system of camps, the prisoners, camp administration, camp life, and Stalin's obsession with slave labor. "GULAG is an acronym, meaning Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. Over time, the word `Gulag' has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself." Intellectually, Americans and Western Europeans know roughly what happened in the Soviet Union, but the crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction as do the crimes of the Third Reich. This first complete history of the Gulag system not only points out the similarities with the Nazis and their concentration camps but also puts Stalin and his Gulag on the same ghastly level. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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

Library Journal More than a full-scale history of the Soviet Gulag, this work by the Spectator's deputy editor asks why it is so little remembered in both Russia and the West. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Mariners Compass
by Earlene Fowler

Library Journal In order to inherit a house from a man she never met, series protagonist Benni Harper (Dove in the Window, Prime Crime: Berkley, 1998) must spend two weeks alone in it. There, the folk art museum curator and sleuth follows mysterious clues her benefactor left behind. For series fans. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly A bizarre inheritance, a dangerous quest and a political battle are the main events of Benni Harper's captivating sixth adventure (after Dove in the Window). Benni's work at the San Celina Folk Art Museum is interrupted when she unexpectedly inherits the estate of a stranger named Jacob Chandler. His house in Morro Bay is worth $200,000, but Chandler's will stipulates that Benni can keep the windfall only if she lives in the house for two weeksÄalone. As expected, her protective husband, police chief Gabe, is none too happy about this development. But Benni is unwilling to turn down the money, and more important, her curiosity is piqued. After all, why would someone she'd never met make her his sole heir, especially when it turns out that many others were expecting to benefit from his death? To find the answer, Benni embarks on a dangerous search for Chandler's motives, following a series of cryptic notes that he's left for her all over California. Meanwhile, Gabe has his hands full keeping peace between San Celina's mayor and Benni's formidable Gramma Dove, who leads a sit-in at the Historical Museum to thwart the mayor's plan to convert it into a restaurant. As Benni's inquiries lead to unsettling information about her mother, who died when Benni was six, Fowler captures her plucky heroine's secret anxieties, but offsets them with a good dose of humor. Benni's need to know the truth about her family imbues the novel with alluring intimacy and suspense. And Chandler's penchant for wood carving provokes engaging descriptions of that craft, which accompany Fowler's usual bits on quilting and food. Chandler's puzzles test Benni's relationships with her husband, father and grandmother in this excellent addition to a notable series. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Ex-cowgirl and California Central Coast resident Benni Harper has inherited the house of Jacob Chandler, a man she never met. Chandler's will requires Benni to live in the house for two weeks and to solve a mystery. Meanwhile, her grandma Dove and six friends barricade themselves into the Historical Society to thwart a development-oriented mayor, and Benni is pursued by a mysterious assailant. In this sixth Benni Harper novel, Fowler continues to deepen her characters--eccentric and sympathetic Californians and transplanted southerners--and her plotting appears tighter and better organized. There are some surprising and funny moments here, and Fowler's skill in developing a mystery in an interesting community will appeal to fans of Rett McPherson's Veiled Antiquity and Leslie Meier's Valentine Murder [both BKL Je 1 & 15 98]. --John Rowen

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

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