Summer’s Bestsellers

This week’s installment of the Summer of Reading Series focuses on this summer’s bestsellers. Look for the latest bestsellers in our Browsing Collection on the 2nd floor!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Set in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass., Howe’s propulsive if derivative novel alternates between the 1991 story of college student Connie Goodwin and a group of 17th-century outcasts. After moving into her grandmother’s crumbling house to get it in shape for sale, Connie comes across a small key and piece of paper reading only Deliverance Dane. The Salem witch trials, contemporary Wicca and women’s roles in early American history figure prominently as Connie does her academic detective work. What follows is a breezy read in which Connie must uncover the mystery of a shadowy book written by the enigmatic Deliverance Dane. During Connie’s investigation, she relies on a handsome steeplejack for romance and her mother and an expert on American colonial history for clues and support. While the twisty plot and Howe’s habit of ending chapters with cliffhangers are straight out of the thriller playbook, the writing is solid overall, and Howe’s depiction of early American life and the witch trials should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Heretic’s Daughter. The witchcraft angle and frenetic pacing beg for a screen adaptation.

A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts
Roberts goes beyond the sensational headlines, probing A-Rod’s childhood to reveal a man torn by obligation to his family and the pull of his insatiable hedonism, a conflict—epitomized by his relationship with Madonna and devotion to Kabbalah—that led to the end of his six-year marriage. Roberts sheds new light on A-Rod’s abuse of performance-enhancing drugs, a practice he appears to have begun as early as high school and that extended into his Yankee years. She chronicles his secretive real estate deals, gets inside the negotiations for his latest record-breaking contract with the Yankees, and examines the insecurities that compel him to seek support from a motivational guru before every game.
In A-Rod, Roberts captures baseball’s greatest player as a tragic figure in pinstripes: the man once considered the clean exception of the steroid generation revealed as an unmistakable product of its greed and dissolution.

What Happened to Anna K by Irina Reyn
With her fresh reinvention of Anna Karenina, Irina Reyn finds her tragic heroine in the Russian-Jewish immigrants of New York’s outer boroughs. As in the Tolstoy, an impetuous woman wasting in a sterile marriage succumbs to a destined-for-disaster love affair with a dashing young man, and is bitterly condemned by a society fraught with hypocrisy; like citizens of19th-century Russia, modern-day Bukharians don’t take kindly to wifely infidelity. With an ear for witty dialogue and a knack for imagery both sharp and sensuous, Reyn gives a pixel-perfect depiction of Anna’s world. Those caught in her undertow are equally multidimensional, most with their own struggles between loyalty to self and longing for community acceptance. Even those who haven’t experienced Tolstoy will be rapt.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

Cool Books for Hot Reading

New in the Browsing Section
Any Minute by Joyce Meyer
Black Hills by Nora Robers
Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
Swimsuit by James Patterson
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Greedy Bones by Carolyn Haines
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Storm Cycle by Iris Johansen
Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson
Recent addtions:
Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
Rogue of My Own by Johanna Lindsey
Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
First Family by David Baldacci
Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh
A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts
These and other good reads are available on the second floor of the Library in the Browsing section.
Happy Reading!

Summer Movie Magic

With the release of the 6th Harry Potter movie last week magic is in the air, and so this week’s Summer of Reading Series selections focus on movie magic! Check out the reviews below for Labyrinth, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Inkheart, and The Prestige!
“Labyrinth” starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie
Sarah (a teenage Jennifer Connelly) rehearses the role of a fairy-tale queen, performing for her stuffed animals. She is about to discover that the time has come to leave her childhood behind. In real life she has to baby-sit her brother and contend with parents who don’t understand her at all. Her petulance leads her to call the goblins to take the baby away, but when they actually do, she realizes her responsibility to rescue him. Sarah negotiates the Labyrinth to reach the City of the Goblins and the castle of their king. The king is the only other human in the film and is played by a glam-rocking David Bowie, who performs five of his songs. The rest of the cast are puppets, a wonderful array of Jim Henson’s imaginative masterpieces. Henson gives credit to children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, and the creatures in the movie will remind Sendak fans of his drawings. The castle of the king is a living M.C. Escher set that adults will enjoy. The film combines the highest standards of art, costume, and set decoration. Like executive producer George Lucas’s other fantasies, Labyrinth mixes adventure with lessons about growing up.
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” starring Daniel Radcliffe and Kenneth Branagh
First sequels are the true test of an enduring movie franchise, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets passes with flying colors. Expanding upon the lavish sets, special effects, and grand adventure of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry involves a darker, more malevolent tale (parents with younger children beware), beginning with the petrified bodies of several Hogwarts students and magical clues leading Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to a 50-year-old mystery in the monster-laden Chamber of Secrets. House elves, squealing mandrakes, giant spiders, and venomous serpents populate this loyal adaptation (by Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus and screenwriter Steve Kloves), and Kenneth Branagh delightfully tops the supreme supporting cast as the vainglorious charlatan Gilderoy Lockhart.
“Inkheart” starring Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren
“I prefer a story that has the good sense to stay on the page–where it belongs!” declares Elinor Loredan (Helen Mirren, in fine upper-crust form) in Inkheart, a rollicking adventure that appeals to adults as well as tweens and teens. But if Elinor got what she wanted, viewers would not–for the delicious premise of the film (based on Cornelia Funke’s best-selling novel is that book lover Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser) has discovered a way to bring book characters to life. That means that adorable Toto from The Wizard of Oz is suddenly yapping under Mo’s daughter Meggie’s (Eliza Bennett) bed. But it also means that somewhere, a real person or thing has been sucked into the book world–battling flying monkeys and evildoers that suddenly are real threats. The film is crisply directed by Iain Softley, and Fraser and his costars (including Mirren, Paul Bettany, and Jim Broadbent) are worthy, watchable characters who appear to be having as much fun as the audience. And the film’s pro-book message will please young book readers, and their parents, who know that a good adventure in one’s imagination can never be rivaled by anything on any screen, of any size.
“The Prestige” starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson
Obsession, jealousy, and deceit define the tense relationship shared between two turn-of-the-century magicians in director Christopher Nolan’s dizzying tale of sleight of hand. Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are London-based magicians of the highest order, both blessed with spectacular powers of deception and both cursed with unrelenting envy for one another’s skills. When Alfred performs an awe-inspiring trick for which there seems no logical explanation, the friendly competition shared between the pair turns to deadly rivalry as the enraged Rupert determines to uncover his rival’s deepest secrets. In the world of illusion, however, nothing is ever quite as it seems, and the rules of the physical world simply don’t apply. Now, as bitter competition quickly begins to consume the souls of both performers, the firestorm birthed by their anger threatens to consume all who surround them. Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie co-star in a feature that finds director/screenwriter Nolan reuniting with brother Jonathan Nolan to adapt author Christopher Priest’s original novel.

A Magical Summer

It was a dark and stormy morning, and the fans of the AUM Library were eagerly awaiting the latest update on the Summer of Reading Series… This week’s selections are truly magical, so be sure to check them out! It wouldn’t be a magical summer without Harry Potter and fans are in for a treat with the theatrical release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on July 15th, 2009. If you like magic and libraries, then you’ll enjoy reading “Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft”. Speaking of storms, the “Tempest” is sure to thrill and enchant readers with it’s enchanted island and political intrigue. Any history buffs out there? Well then, you might enjoy reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, which is set during the Napoleonic wars and is full of magical intrigue. Check out the reviews below and then check them out of your local library!

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” By J.K. Rowling
A darker book than any in the series thus far with a level of sophistication belying its genre, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moves the series into murkier waters and marks the arrival of Rowling onto the adult literary scene. While she has long been praised for her cleverness and wit, the strength of Book 6 lies in her subtle development of key characters, as well as her carefully nuanced depiction of a community at war. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, no one and nothing is safe, including preconceived notions of good and evil and of right and wrong. With each book in her increasingly remarkable series, fans have nervously watched J.K. Rowling raise the stakes; gone are the simple delights of butterbeer and enchanted candy, and days when the worst ailment could be cured by a bite of chocolate. A series that began as a colorful lark full of magic and discovery has become a dark and deadly war zone. But this should not come as a shock to loyal readers. Rowling readied fans with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by killing off popular characters and engaging the young students in battle. Ready or not, the tremendous ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will leave stunned fans wondering what great and terrible events await in Book 7 if this sinister darkness is meant to light the way.
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“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” By Susanna Clarke
It’s 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke’s ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke–and it’s not all fairy dust.

“The Tempest” By William Shakespeare
The most poetic and magical of Shakespeare’s comedies, this play contrasts lyrical fantasy surrounding the spirit Ariel and the savage Calaban, with a tale of political intrigue focused around Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, now a wizard living on a remote island.
This joyous play, the last comedy of Shakespeare’s career, sums up his stagecraft with a display of seemingly effortless skill. Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, living on an enchanted island, has the opportunity to punish and forgive his enemies when he raises a tempest that drives them ashore—as well as to forestall a rebellion, to arrange the meeting of his daughter, Miranda, with an eminently suitable young prince, and, more important, to relinquish his magic powers in recognition of his advancing age. Richly filled with music and magic, romance and comedy, the play’s theme of love and reconciliation offers a splendid feast for the senses and the heart.

“Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft” By Mindy Klasky
Jane Madison, a somewhat timid, fashion-challenged librarian living in Washington, D.C., is none too pleased when she learns her salary is being cut by a quarter. Her supervisor eases the blow by offering to let Jane live rent-free in a small cottage on the library’s property. Jane gets more than she bargained for when she discovers a hidden key that unlocks the door to the basement, which is filled with a wide array of witchcraft books. Jane is even more surprised when she recites a spell and it works, calling forth a familiar in the form of a handsome, cheeky gay man and bringing a stern but sexy warder, David, to her door, intent on helping her harness and moderate her newfound powers. Fans of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted, Inc. series will find much to love in Klasky’s zesty blend of fantasy and romance as well as in her winsome heroine. Enchanted readers will also be pleased to learn that a sequel is already in the works

Enchanted Summer Reading

Greetings! This week’s Summer of Reading selections are full of enchantment and wonder. Magic, romance, and mischief abound in the pages of this week’s books. Check out these titles and more at the AUM Library!

Ella Enchanted By Gail Carson Levine
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ve ever read.

Source: Levine/dp/0060558865/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245440684&sr=1-1#

Enchanted By Nora Roberts
New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts delivers pure magic with the publication of Enchanted, part of the Donovan Legacy series. Lovely schoolteacher Rowan Murray has always done what others thought was best for her, until she decides to take a vacation at a friend’s remote Oregon cabin. There she finds herself drawn to her neighbor, brooding Irish loner Liam Donovan, and to a golden-eyed black wolf who appears at her door. Rowan suspects there is more to Liam than meets the eye when he begins haunting her suddenly very steamy dreams. Together, Liam and the wolf–and the quiet majesty of the Oregon coast–influence Rowan to make her life her own and her hopes reality


A Midsummer Night’s Dream By William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start–Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia’s father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon’s head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke’s wedding (one of whom is given a donkey’s head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.


The Enchantress of Florence By Salman Rushdie
The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess the powers of enchantment and sorcery, attempting to command her own destiny in a man’s world. It is the story of two cities at the height of their powers–the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolò Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power. Profoundly moving and completely absorbing, The Enchantress of Florence is a dazzling book full of wonders by one of the world’s most important living writers.