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September 2014 Staff Picks Week 3
Monday, September 15, 2014

Night Film: a novel by Marisha Pessl

Black magic, psychiatric hospitals, and cult movies.  Mix classic noir with an artsy thriller and the end result is Night Film.  A beautiful, talented young woman is found at the bottom of an elevator shaft in an abandoned warehouse and is labeled as a suicide.  Her death compels disgraced investigative journalist Scott McGrath to seek out the last people to see her alive, partly because he was one of the last people to see her alive.

Partly because the woman was Ashley Cordova, former piano prodigy and daughter of legendary reclusive director Stanislas Cordova, known for his dark and disturbing “night films” – available to fans only through secret underground screenings or black market tape trades.  The same infamous director who slapped him with a libel lawsuit years ago regarding false accusations concerning children, which ultimately cost McGrath his reputation, family, and a small fortune.  Ashley’s suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to strike a severely cursed dynasty. Cordova’s life itself is a mystery: not seen in public since 1977, there are conspiracies, madness, disappearances, actors who refuse to discuss their experiences working with him, and now another unexplained death.  Coincidence?  McGrath can’t resist reexamining the family’s secrets and is determined to restore his career by uncovering what Cordova did to cause his daughter to end her life, validating his claim that there is something seriously sinister involved. 

This book is appropriately cinematic and evokes a constant creep factor; the ambiance of a horror flick suspended over every revelation, confession, trace of clue and dead end.  Propelled by piecing together the events of Ashley’s last days, there is intricate plotting and careful pacing that keep the audience guessing until the end.   Additionally, Pessl effectively takes a mixed-media approach using photographs, website ‘screenshots,’ newspaper articles, police reports, letters, movie scripts, medical records, satellite maps, and more to enhance the mystery and make the reader feel part of the investigation. 

September 2014 Staff Picks Week 2
Monday, September 08, 2014

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (1996)

Fantasy lovers and Game of Thrones fans will love Robin Hobb, author of Assassin’s Apprentice.  The first in a trilogy, followed by 2 more trilogies, her style is anything but cliché. 

Filled with fresh characters and a clever approach on magic and the ability to read minds, the story follows illegitimate young Fitz on his journey to becoming a secret assassin for his royal family.  Inquisitive and courageous, but morally complex and shy, Fitz’s narrative gives insight into the lives of the characters and the world around him.

The characters Hobb creates are multi-faceted, interesting, and unique.  In a genre often bogged down by formulaic plots and two-dimensional characters, her works border on epics with many lively characters and overarching themes of destiny, good and evil, and true identity.  The intrigue will bring you in, but the characters will make you stay.

September 2014 Theme Week 3
Monday, September 08, 2014

Shadows in Scarlet by Lillian Stewart Carl

History graduate student Amanda Witham has a new job giving tours at an eighteenth-century manor in Colonial Williamsburg when a two century-old skeleton is found buried in the garden. That night the ghost of British officer James Grant, who was reported to have died during the Revolutionary War, appears to her. But how did he really die? Amanda makes a promise to him that she will uncover and reveal the truth of his death. She has firsthand knowledge of Grant from having met his ghost, and wants to pass that on to the staff at the manor, but can’t reveal how she got the information. Amanda’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the Grant family’s castle in Scotland, where she meets the charming Malcolm and tries to determine which version of the story of Grant’s death she believes – that of the ghost himself, or that of his family.

A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson

Josh Winkler of Euclid Heights, Illinois becomes an accidental time traveler when he takes the running paths that go behind the houses in his neighborhood and is transported back 15 minutes in time. Another experience of time travel, not his, happens when an orphan girl named Constance appears from the year 1908 and wants to return to her own time. Having experience in time travel, Josh believes her and tries to help her. Amid disbelief from the townsfolk, Josh lands in trouble for his efforts to help Constance. When Constance returns to her own time, Josh thinks the time travel is finished, until his daughter disappears and he must go back in time to find her.

Time and Again by Jack Finney

It’s no wonder this book, written in 1970, became a cult classic! It is a wonderful blend of historical fiction, science fiction, time travel, mystery, and romance. AND it’s set in New York City! How can you go wrong? This well researched time travel saga takes the reader from present day (1970) back to 1882. It is filled with a plethora of details of NYC during the late 1800s, one feels as though they are there! The main character, Si Morley, is an ad man working in the city. He is recruited to join an undercover government project exploring the possibilities of time travel. He agrees and a life changing adventure begins. I am not usually a big fan of this genre, but the author does an incredible job of drawing the reader in and really making one believe that the protagonist has woken up in Victorian era New York during a monumental blizzard – which adds to the magical quality of his epic journey. The longer Si stays in the past the more torn he becomes when the time comes for him to choose between two worlds, past or present –forever.

September 2014 Dazzling Debuts
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September 2014
Bib 789264 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Author:  David Shafer

“Journalist Shafer hits all the right buttons in his debut as he mixes crime fiction, espionage, and SF in a darkly comic novel about paranoia and big business. A battle for control over all the information in the world has begun. The Committee, an international organization comprising industry and media leaders, has plans to privatize the news, the publishing industry, and all other social media. Dear Diary, an online movement, has set itself up as a formidable enemy of the Committee, using politics, spy craft, and technology to thwart its initiatives. The Committee's takeover of the Internet, its ability to change words as they are being typed, and its targeting of enemies' family members evokes a chilling, Orwellian society.” Publishers Weekly starred review
David Shafer is a graduate of Harvard and the Columbia Journalism School. He has lived in Argentina and Dublin, and has been a journalist, sometimes a carpenter, once a taxi driver and briefly a flack for an NGO. He now lives in Portland with his wife, daughter, and son.

Bib 785600 Five Days Left
Author: Julie Lawson Timmer

“A successful attorney, happily married wife, and mother to a beautiful adopted five-year-old daughter, Mara Nichols has led a charmed life.  Then she is diagnosed with debilitating, degenerative, and deadly Huntington's disease.   She ultimately sets a date to end her life and now has five days left in which to prepare herself, tidy her affairs, and say goodbye to her loved ones, including her friend Scott Coffman, a schoolteacher Mara met on an online forum for adoptive parents. Scott is facing a goodbye of his own, to the eight-year-old boy he's fostered and fallen in love with and who is due to return to his biological mother--in five days. Told in the alternating voices of Mara and Scott, Timmer's debut novel packs a powerful punch. Absorbing, deeply affecting, and ultimately uplifting, it heralds the arrival of an author to watch.  Perfect for fans of thoughtful, controversial fiction.”  Library Journal starred review
Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Canada and earned a bachelor's degree from McMaster University and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and children and is a lawyer.

Bib 786759 Gutenberg’s Apprentice
Author : Alix Christie

“This gorgeously written debut, set in the cathedral city of fifteenth-century Mainz, dramatizes the creation of the Gutenberg Bible in a story that devotees of book history and authentic historical fiction will relish. When scribe Peter Schoeffer gets called home from Paris by his foster father, Johann Fust, to be trained by the headstrong, brilliant Johann Gutenberg in the groundbreaking art of movable-type printing, he is resentful and apprehensive. With a confident hand, Christie illuminates the daily life and religious mindset of late medieval Germany as Peter grapples with new ideas.  Readers are offered a captivating view of early printing techniques and the obstacles encountered over the several years in which each successive line of the Bible is inked onto vellum and paper. An inspiring tale of ambition, camaraderie, betrayal, and cultural transformation based on actual events and people, this wonderful novel fully inhabits its age.” Booklist starred review
Alix Christie was born in California, spent her childhood summers in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, and has lived in Paris, San Francisco, and Berlin. She has been a widely published journalist for thirty years.  A letterpress printer since her youth, Alix Christie currently lives in London, where she reviews books and the arts for The Economist.

Bib 785623 The Distance: A Thriller
Author: Helen Giltrow

“Charlotte Alton is leading a double life. A prominent London socialite, she is also known in criminal circles as Karla, a fixer who specializes in information of the most sinister kind. Karla can wipe out all traces of a person and conversely can reincarnate a person into someone else with a few strokes of the keyboard. No one knows of her dual identity save for one man, Johanssen, who needs her help to break into an experimental prison to kill a woman housed there.   Most of the characters in this highly layered story are duplicitous, but despite the narrative's complexity, Giltrow keeps it tight and moving.  The graphic violence and torture has this thriller bordering on horror, like the work of Chelsea Cain, so be forewarned that it is not for the squeamish.”  Booklist
Helen Giltrow is a former bookseller and freelance editor whose writing has been shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award and the Daily Telegraph's Novel in a Year Competition in the United Kingdom. She lives in Oxford, England.

Bib 789233 Miracle in a Dry Season
Author: Thomas, Sarah Loudin

“Living in the small town of Wise, WI, in 1954, Casewell Phillips is content to take one day at a time and has no idea what the year holds in store. His life takes a turn when he meets Perla Long and her daughter Sadie. Soon Casewell is crafting furniture for dolls and wondering about the gift of never-ending food that seems to come whenever Perla cooks a meal. Throw in a mix of small-town gossip, the illness of a loved one, a minister bent on judgment, and the opportunity to see God work in the hearts of charming townfolk, and readers will stay up all night reading to see what happens next. Fans of Karen Kingsbury's feel-good stories of heartfelt lessons will love Thomas's debut.” Library Journal starred review
Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also published freelance writing for "Mountain Homes Southern Style" and "Now & Then" magazines, as well as "The Asheville Citizen-Times" and" The Journey Christian Newspaper". She holds a bachelor's in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina.

Graphic Novel Book Club Minimize
Graphic Novels/Comics Book Club
Ashburn Library
Dec 3, 7:00 pm

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
For adults.

(Book Clubs)

Graphic Novels/Comics Book Club
Ashburn Library
Nov 5, 7:00 pm

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
For adults.

(Book Clubs)

Graphic Novels/Comics Book Club
Ashburn Library
Oct 1, 7:00 pm

Locke and Key: Vol. 1 Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
For adults.

More Graphic Novel Discussions
Join a Book Discussion
Romance Writers' Workshop with a Panel of Successful Romance Authors moderated by Christyna Hunter
Cascades Library
Jan 31, 1:00-5:00 pm

The panel will debate the differences and commonalities of publishing through a small press, a traditional publisher and Harlequin. Writing techniques and how to reach a niche audience will also be discussed.
Christyna Hunter writes reviews of romance novels for USA Today and Library Journal Online.
Mary Behre is the author of the Tidewater series, paranormal romantic suspense novels. Spirited (March 2014) and Guarded (August 2014)
Tracey Livesay is the author of The Tycoon's Socialite Bride (February 2014), Book One in the In Love with a Tycoon series.
Lynne Silver writes the Coded for Love series, Desperate Match (March 2014) and other contemporary romance novels. Love, Technically (July 2013)

For adults.

Adult Book Club
Rust Library
Dec 23, 1:30 pm

The Vanishing  Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
For adults.

(Book Clubs)

What Would You Say?
All Locations
Oct 1, -Oct. 26

This program is in support of the 1book 1community program. The selected title is Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Please pick up a copy of this book, at any library branch, beginning September 16 and participate in this activity. Sponsored by the Irwin Uran Gift Fund which supports the purchase of materials and programs that "create better understanding between all people."
If you were like Melody and could not speak, what would be the one thing you would want to "say" to people? Share your thoughts on a tag that will be displayed at the author presentation - so others may "hear" your voice. Pick up a tag at your branch.
For children, teens and adults.

Please join us for Ms. Draper's presentation to the Loudoun community at the Rust Library on Tuesday, October 28, 7:00 pm.
Sponsored by the A.V. Symington Gift Fund.
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Passing the Book @ Middleburg Library

Join us for an informal discussion of the books you've recently read, love, or just think are worth reading. Attendees have 10 minutes to give their own book talks. Contact the branch for information about the next discussion.

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