b2ap3_thumbnail_rainbowrowell.jpgIf you want to know about some of the best new books that librarians love, check out LibraryReads. Once a month librarians across the country vote for their favorite books, and only 10 make the list.

The July list has just been announced, and we are so excited because our own Andrea Larson’s review was picked for the number one book! Andrea recommended the novel Landline by Rainbow Rowell, who is a favorite among librarians for her young adult novels Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. Landline is Rowell’s first adult novel. Andrea wrote that “Landline explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time–they are that moving. Landline captured my heart.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_loriraderday.pngWe also are thrilled because The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day is one the top 10 books picked for July. Rader-Day is coming to Cook Library to talk about her terrific debut mystery at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15. The Black Hour also has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was listed by Chicago Magazine as one of six great summer reads by local authors. We are so proud to host this talented author, and hope you can join us. Register here.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_elockhart.jpgCady, Johnny, Mirren and Gat -- the Liars -- were four inseparable teens who spent every idyllic summer together since they were 8 on Grandpa Sinclair’s private island off Cape Cod. Each family had a separate home and dinners were served every evening after cocktails by their grandparents’ cook at the big house. Cady is the beloved granddaughter of the proud and wealthy patriarch and she is reminded regularly to maintain a stiff upper lip because she is one of ‘the’ Sinclairs, whose ancestors were some of the first settlers in New England. World travel and the Ivy League are assumed to follow high school. Life was good.

Yet, two summers earlier, known to the family as Summer 15, Cady had been found one evening
b2ap3_thumbnail_wewereliarsbig.jpgfloating in her underwear on one of the island’s private beaches, and is still unable to remember why she had been there in the first place. A traumatic brain injury is the cause of her memory loss and of her debilitating migraine headaches, according to the myriad of  doctors Cady has seen since. As much as she tries, Cady cannot remember anything about Summer 15 or what had caused her accident. Now it’s Summer 17 and Cady will be going back to the island, hoping that being there again with the rest of the Liars will help her
remember her accident and perhaps help her heal.

The story of Cady and her family is full of twists and turns, unreliable narrators and is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Cady is a strong yet wounded character and the reader goes along for the ride as she describes the summers her family spent together and feels Cady’s frustrations as she tries so hard to remember what caused her accident. She tries to get answers from others who were there, but her extended family is having serious problems of their own, and so she withdraws into her pain and continues to puzzle over the events of Summer 15. As Cady begins to remember bits and pieces, the reader also begins to realize what really happened that night.

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I’m not sure why, but most major book awards are announced either in the spring or fall. The last big award of this season, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize), was announced Wednesday.

Here is a roundup of all the spring awards, in case you missed the announcements.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chinadolls.jpgWith China Dolls, Lisa See has written a highly engaging novel looking into the popular "Oriental'' nightclub scene before World War II in San Francisco.  

Three young women from different backgrounds form a rocky friendship when trying to survive in a difficult environment of racism, sexism and family challenges.

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Jolie as Maleficent 2Actress Angelina Jolie turns 39 this week!  After a fairly quiet year in which she dealt with a major health issue, the popular star is back with two high-profile projects in 2014.  She gets a chance to show off her dark side through her starring role in the just-released Disney Studios film Maleficent, which focuses on the self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" of Sleeping Beauty fame -- and tells the fascinating tale of exactly why she became so rotten. Elle Fanning co-stars as the innocent Princess Aurora.

 

Jolie also served as producer and director of the highly-anticipated film version of Laura Hillenbrand's monumental bestseller Unbroken, which relates the inspirational, true story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic runner turned Army Air Corps bombardier, who survived tortuous conditions in a POW camp after his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean during WWII.  The project boasts a screenplay by the Coen brothers and is scheduled for release in December. 

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