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Historical Fiction

Breaking Stalin's Nose

Breaking Stalin's nose by Eugene Yelchin — a gripping story about a seldom covered historical era — Russia, or the then Soviet Union, under Stalin's rule. Ten-year-old Sasha begins a 24 hour period in a state of utter elation, the day has finally arrived for him to join the Young Pioneers. At last he will be able to serve the Communist Party and Comrade Stalin, just as his father does who works for the secret police in State Security. But poor, niave Sasha soon finds his whole world spiraling into an abyssmal black hole. His father is arrested in the middle of the night leaving him homeless. He accidentally breaks the nose off of a bust of Stalin at school and knows he could be arrested, too, if anyone reports him and he will never be able to join the Young Pioneers.

Dead End in Norvelt

Dead end in Norvelt by Jack Gantos — justly deserved winning the Newbery. It is an entertaining as well enriching read set in 1962 Norvelt, Pennsylvania — a real place. Indeed, the story is partly autobiographical which is why the main character's name is Jackie Gantos. Jackie is grounded for the summer for doing a couple dumb things. He ends up having to be the "hired hands" for an arthritic elderly neighbor, Miss Volker. As he transcribes the obituaries for the local paper, a sinister pattern begins to emerge — far too many of the town's elderly are dying in rapid succession by bizarre causes. Zany characters and wild escapades are intermixed with fascinating historical facts about not only Norvelt, but renowned figures in world history.

Murder Will Out: 2011 Hammett Award Nominees Announced

2011 North American Hammett Prize nominees have been announced by the International Crime Writers Association — North American Branch. The organization will name the Hammett Prize winner, during the Bloody Words Conference, in Toronto, June 1-3, 2012. The winner will receive a bronze trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger.

Feast day of fools: a novel by James Lee Burke

Claire DeWitt and the city of the dead [sound recording]: [a mystery] by Sara Gran

The cat's table by Michael Ondaatje

The informant by Thomas Perry

The killer is dying: a novel by James Sallis

Author Appearance: Adam Johnson

The Orphan Master's Son: a novel by Adam Johnson — Author Adam Johnson will speak at Nicola's Books on Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 PM in Ann Arbor.

Murder Will Out: 2012 Edgar Award Nominations Announced

The Mystery Writers of America have announced its nominees for the 2012 Edgar Awards for the best mystery writing in fiction, non-fiction, television, and production.

If You Like Downton Abbey

Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, the popular PBS series Downton Abbey centers on the Crawley family, their servants and their life at their grand country home. However, the death of the Crawley heir aboard the Titanic, sets in motion a succession of changes for both the family and the servants. The second season — which began on PBS on January 8 — has moved forward to the years 1916-17 and portrays the effect that World War I has on all of their lives. This Emmy Award winning series is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and Elizabeth McGovern. If you enjoy this period of history try some of the following titles.

Books

The American heiress: a novel by Daisy Goodwin — Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England.

Below Stairs — The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Powell, Margaret — The remarkable true story of a woman who served in one of the great houses of England as a kitchen maid.

Diary of a Not-So-Wimpy Kid

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai — Do you enjoy reading diaries? Do you like historical fiction? A wonderful adventure is in store for you then. This book justly deserved winning The National Book Award for Young People's Literature, as well as two other awards. Meet Ha, a bright, feisty 10-year-old girl, who must flee her home in Vietnam along with her mother and three older brothers. When they arrive in Florida they must stay at a refugeee camp until a family is found to sponsor them. "Cowboy" and his wife in Alabama agree to do so and yet another chapter begins in a very challenging year for Ha.

Of Mice and Men...and Pie and Cheese and Cats

Are you in the mood for a delicious story to savor this holiday season? One that is skillfully baked, flavorful, and not too heavy? Then sample Pie by Sarah Weeks and/or The Cheshire Cheese Cat — a Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright. These savory tales have a pinch of mystery and history, but family, friendship, and faith in oneself are the bread and butter of both books. Seasoned with laughter and garnished with a touch of magic make them tantalizing literary treats you won't want to miss. Feast upon Pie, and you will soon be drooling for a slice. If you are an intrepid baker, you can even attempt to create the culinary delights described because recipes are included with each chapter.

Murder Will Out: More Mystery Book Awards

The End of the Wasp Season: a novel by Denise Mina — has received the Martin Beck Award for best translation. Romantic Times Book Reviewers Awards for Mystery, Suspense, and Crime were recently announced in Orlando, Florida.

Book Club Choices: December 2011

The perfect book for a book discussion is one that's not too easy, not too hard, that will hold the interest of a diverse group of readers and will also inspire a lively discussion. For additional book club resources check out CPL's Book Club in a Bag kits.

The true memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp

The tiger's wife: a novel by Téa Obreht

Canton Seniors Book Discussion: January 25, 2012

Canton Seniors Book Discussion group will meet on Wednesday, January 25 from 2:00-3:00 PM in CPL Group Study Room A. This month we are reading:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón — Eleven year old Daniel’s quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget. He discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written.

Check at the Help Desk for an available copy of The Shadow of the Wind.

Best of 2011

Lists, lists, and more lists. As 2011 draws to an end everyone seems to be creating "Best of" lists. For readers of all ages and tastes, holiday gift suggestions:

Canton Seniors Book Discussion: November 16, 2011

Canton Seniors Book Discussion group will meet one week earlier this month on Wednesday, November 16 from 2:00-3:00 PM in Group Study Room A. This month's reading selection is:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett — In pitch perfect voices, Katheryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, and friends — view each other.