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The Ways of the Dead

The ways of the dead : a novelBy Tucker, Neely, 1963-

Author Neely Tucker, a 25 year veteran news reporter, has created a flawed but thorough and determined character in Sullivan (Sully) Carter, a former Bosnian war correspondent who now works the crime beat for a major Washington, D.C. paper. When the daughter of a prominent judge is murdered, Sully jumps on the story despite his grudge against said judge from a previous case. Sully pulls together his daily front-page stories, digging up some facts in the case that the police have overlooked or failed to thoroughly investigate. He believes the wrong suspects have been arrested, so he enlists the help of the local crime boss who knows everything that's happening in his district and keeps a tight lid on things. Tucker's tight plotting and well-drawn characters get into both the politics and the dual character of the city, as well as detailing the fine line reporters and their editors walk every day to work on a big story and decide what they can safely print. If you are a fan of crime fiction and enjoy a main character who just can't seem to get his life together and succeeds in spite of himself, you will love this fast-paced page turner.
The Ways of the Dead is based on the true story of the Princeton Place murders which took place in D. C. in the 1990's. Tucker's other book is Love in the Driest Season (2004) and he continues his journalism career at the Washington Post.

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Whispering Shadows

Whispering shadows : a novelBy Sendker, Jan-Philipp author.

The first book in a planned trilogy, Whispering Shadows takes place in Hong Kong where American Paul Leibovitz lives in seclusion after the death of his son and collapse of his marriage. A chance meeting with a couple looking for their missing son stirs him to gradually re-enter society in order to help them. Paul is drawn into a web of international intrigue involving a mining operation on the mainland, in which some corrupt cops have a financial interest. Out of his league, Paul enlists the help of his straight-laced Hong Kong detective friend, Zhang, to put together the story of what has really happened to the missing son, a quest which proves very dangerous to both of them. Paul is also drawn closer into a relationship with single mother Christine, as he deals with the demons of his past.
Sendker's other books include The Art of Hearing Hearbeats and A Well-Tempered Heart, both of which took place in Burma and were international best sellers. Senker is a German citizen who was a journalist in Asia for many years and is intimately knowledgeable about its culture.

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Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Can't we talk about something more pleasant?By Chast, Roz

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast was the sole caregiver for her +90 year-old parents: in their own apartment, into assisted living and eventually to hospice.  Not finding much in the way of “how-to” material, she did the best she could and decided to write a graphic memoir about her experiences.  It’s not all sad and gloomy—there are definitely some funny episodes as well as high drams and just muddling through. What’s great about Chast’s unsentimental, astounding work is that she doesn’t hold back about any aspect of the topic none of us want to talk about, what Chast calls “the moving sidewalk of life”.  Whether dealing with fears, explosions of denial, decreased capacity to care for oneself, medical directives, moving to assisted living, dealing with a lifetime of accumulated things, legal and financial issues, and all the overwhelming emotions that rise up in the process, Chast lovingly brings grace under pressure,  talented insight, and spot-on drawings to the task.

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Outside the Box : Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists

Outside the box : interviews with contemporary cartoonistsBy Chute, Hillary L, interviewer.

Hillary Chute is Professor of English at University of Chicago and a frequent contributor to the canon of writing on comics; she is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narratives and Contemporary Comics. Over the past decade, Chute has conducted interviews with many of today’s leading cartoonists, and presents twelve of these in Outside the Box. Among those interviewed are Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Scott McCloud, Charles Burns, Joe Sacco, Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes and Alison Bechdel. Fans of graphic novels/narratives will love this book for the insights into how these authors/artists got into this rapidly expanding field. For the newly curious, this book is a great introduction to the history of the field and an intimate look at a few of its literary icons. A profusion of full color illustrations throughout the text supplement these excellent, in-depth interviews. Highly recommended.

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On the Run : Fugitive Life in an American City

On the run : fugitive life in an American cityBy Goffman, Alice, author.

Alice Goffman spent the years from her sophomore year through grad school (6 years) as a participant observer (the researcher becomes part of the group being studied) of a virtually all-black neighborhood in Philadelphia to support her undergrad sociology thesis and her graduate work. She started out as a tutor for two children, who introduced her to friends and neighbors, and pretty soon she was “little sis” to many of 6th Street’s toughest young men, who spent much of their teen years interacting with aggressive policing, in and out of jail and on probation. Although she became intimately involved with much day-to-day drama, Goffman remained unbiased and nonreactive, sticking to her methodology plan and she delivers a sobering study of the futile and frustrating revolving door lives of young black men today. You will get a first-hand observer’s analysis of what is behind the headlines, knowledge that can engage individuals toward systemic changes in our future.

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The Stranger : Barack Obama in the White House

The stranger : Barack Obama in the White HouseBy Todd, Chuck, 1972- author.

Todd Chuck is a former chief White House correspondent, NBC political director, and currently hosts NBC’s Meet the Press. This fascinating book framed by Todd’s observation that Obama "came to Washington on the strength of being a stranger to the city and to the political elites, but it hasn't always served him well." Not used to the backroom politics that get things done in Washington, he has relied on his close-knit group of staffers to make up for his shortcomings, especially Joe Biden. Todd's well-sourced book covers the first six years of Obama’s presidency, presenting an intimate portrait of the decision-making and strategic thinking Obama utilizes to make his points and carry out his agenda despite almost overwhelming antagonism and the demise of bipartisanship in the Congress.

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Child 44

Child 44By Smith, Tom Rob

Owing to the fact that the film adaptation of Child 44 is due later this year, I wanted to read Smith’s book first. This is a grim, violent story of life in Soviet Russia in 1953, where “there is no crime in Paradise.” We meet Leo Demidov, a top secret police agent, and his wife, Raisa, a schoolteacher. The lack of investigation into a possible murder case, dismissed as an “accident” by the police, shows how such cases are regularly “solved” with the arrest of an undesirable citizen who is coerced into a confession. Political machinations by Leo’s arch-rival, Vasili, get Leo and Raisa exiled to a remote outpost, where he picks up the trail of a possible serial murderer and must go to great lengths in his attempt to show a connection with the first child’s death in Moscow. A taut thriller with lots of action and intrigue. The film will star Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman and Joel Kinnaman in an uphill battle for justice, directed by Ridley Scott.

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The Invention of Wings

The invention of wings : a novelBy Kidd, Sue Monk

If you liked The Secret Life of Bees, you might enjoy Kidd’s new book, which is available at YDL in multiple formats: large print, Book on CD, eBook, and regular print. It has been chosen as an Oprah 2.0 Book Club title, and I would assume a movie in its future. Once again, Kidd assembles some memorable, well-drawn characters, a great story (this once is partially based on real people and events), and an easy-flowing writing style. The story follows the childhood to middle-aged lives of ambitious sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, their siblings and plantation-owning parents, as well as the lives of the slaves living and working on the Grimke plantation, in particular the seamstress Charlotte and her daughter Hetty (nicknamed Handful). The settings alternate between early 19th century Charleston, North Carolina and several northern locations during the time the abolitionist message was gaining in exposure. The title is taken from a well-known and beloved African folk tale.

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Etta and Otto and Russell and James : a novelBy Hooper, Emma.

Etta and Otto are a married couple in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Russell owns the property next door. They are all in their 80’s. While Otto had his great life adventure overseas during the war (Russell was lame in one foot and therefore exempt from service), Etta feels that she has never had one great adventure in her life: she decides she will walk East until she reaches the Atlantic Ocean, which she has never seen. She leaves Otto a note and takes off on her 3,000 mile hike. Otto is left alone with a pile of recipe cards; but doesn’t seem too upset about her going; it seems fair to him. Russell, however, reacts much differently. The back stories of these three alternate with Etta's on the trail. James is her traveling companion—I won’t spoil the surprise. A beautiful story.

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An Elephant in the Garden

An elephant in the gardenBy Morpurgo, Michael

Inspired by historical events, this story is narrated by Lizzie, a solitary, elderly woman in a nursing home telling the story of her youth in Dresden, Germany to one of the nurses and the nurse’s young son. Lizzie’s mother (Mutti) was a zookeeper in Dresden during WWII. All zookeepers in Germany were told that if the allied bombers came they were to shoot all of the large animals so they wouldn’t escape and run wild. Mutti couldn’t bear to shoot Marlene, a young, orphaned elephant she had known since she witnessed the elephant’s birth 5 years previous, so she persuaded the zoo director to let her keep Marlene in her backyard garden each night.
Dresden is bombed, and the family, along with Marlene is forced to escape the city along with thousands of other refugees, hoping to meet up with the allied forces and also hoping to avoid the approaching Russian forces. On their laborious journey they then find a Canadian pilot whose plane has crashed; this is where the book gets good.
A quick read, with well-drawn out characters and a heartwarming story of friendship and courage highlight this book. Because it doesn’t dwell on the horrors of the war, I recommend it for ages 9-14.

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Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 : a novelBy Prose, Francine, 1947-

Prose has given us a brilliant historical novel with a complicated well-managed plot narrated by a host of interesting characters, each moving the story forward from his or her point of view. There is the main character, Lou Villars, a cross-dressing lesbian race car driver who becomes a Nazi spy (based on the life of Violette Morris); also Gabor Tsenyi, a freelance photographer (based on Hungarian photographer, George Brassaï), a countess, Lily de Rossignol, and various lovers and friends who contribute their perspectives. The vortex of action is the infamous Chameleon Club (based on the Monocle Club), where bohemians, artists, writers and lovers could count on the discretion of the club owner. It is the volatile time from the mid-1920’s to the start of World War II; Prose ratchets up the tension and intrigue to thriller level.

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How I Shed My Skin : Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood

How I shed my skin : unlearning racist lessons of a southern childhoodBy Grimsley, Jim, 1955-

Novelist Jim Grimsley deconstructs his childhood, growing up in the rural South in North Carolina. He was an elementary school student when the 1966 decision (Brown v. Board of Education) came down which started the end of segregation by race. In minute detail, Grimsley remembers the key moments from elementary through high school which challenged him to not become the bigot that his automatically ingrained upbringing said he should be.
This absorbing quick read overflows with substance and honesty as it not only shows how far we have come in 40 years, but how far we still have to go. Highly recommended.
Jim Grimsley's other books include Winter Birds, Dream Boy and My Drowning.

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St. Vincent

St. vincent [videorecording].

How down-on-his-luck Vincent (Bill Murray) becomes a saint will have you alternately laughing and crying in this wonderful new film; also starring Melissa McCarthy as Maggie, Vincent's new neighbor and soon-to-be single Mom, who is raising a precocious 12-year old boy named Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), plus Naomi Watts as Vincent's pay-by-the-hour Russian girlfriend, Daka. Maggie's hospital job leads to Vincent becoming Oliver's after-school sitter, a set-up for hilarious and heart-warming bonding and an eye-opening education for the previously innocent Oliver. Vincent has his beloved wife in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients, and is running from a threatening debt collector when Oliver comes into his life, giving the grouchy old loner a new perspective on life. Great ensemble acting bring this story to life; Bill Murray in particular is at his best. Highly recommended. Rated PG-13.

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Mort(e)

Mort(e)By Repino, Robert.

Outstanding world-building mark this post-apocalyptic morality tale as an instant classic: the ultimate clash between humans and animals is masterminded by a sentient queen ant, head of the Colony: warrior ants are on the attack, and something has caused the other animals to rise up to both human height and capabilities, kill their human masters and join the revolution. The main character is Sebastian, a house cat who has befriended the neighbor dog Sheba. These two become separated during the attack; as a transformed revolutionary, Sebastian becomes the war hero named Morte, whose bravery stems from his quest to find Sheba.
It is a testament to the author’s skill that all this comes off as completely believable.

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The Dream Lover

The dream lover : a novelBy Berg, Elizabeth

In The Dream Lover, Elizabeth Berg transports us back to 19th century Paris, awash with famous authors, critics, actors, composers and artists. Living a separate life from her husband, Casimir, and her children, Aurore Dupin is at last alive--enjoying a seemingly charmed life of the Parisian literati, allowing her personality to blossom as she transforms into the renowned novelist, George Sand. Infamous for her lifestyle (shocking by society’s standards) George sported men’s clothing, smoked openly in public and took many lovers. She wrote over 40 successful novels and plays, became friends with men such as Chopin, Liszt, Hugo, Flaubert, and Delacroix. Berg has given us a well-researched and beautifully written work. “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.” ~George Sand

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Award Winners & Bestsellers

Nobel Prize
2014 Prize in Literature
Patrick Modiano

National Book Award

2014 Prize for Fiction
Redeployment
by Phil Klay

2014 Prize for Nonfiction
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
by Evan Osnos

Newbery Medal
2015 award
The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

Caldecott Medal
2015 award
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

b
y Dan Santat

Printz Award

2015 award
I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson

New York Times Fiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
Memory Man
, by David Baldacci
The Girl on the Train
, by Paula Hawkins
The Bone Tree
, by Greg Iles
All the Light We Cannot See
, by Anthony Doerr
The Liar
, by Nora Roberts

New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
And the Good News Is..., by Dana Perino
The Road to Character
, by David Brooks
Missoula
, by Jon Krakauer
Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies, by David Fisher
Dead Wake
, by Erik Larson

 

More Award Winners & Bestsellers

Following is a list of award-winning and bestselling materials from a variety of sources. Links will take you to an external page that will open in a new window. If YDL does not have an item you are interested in, please submit a Materials Suggestion to us.

Academy Awards

American Booksellers Association National Indie Bestsellers

Billboard Top 100 songs

Caldecott Medal

Coretta Scott King Award

New York Times Bestsellers

Newbery Medal

Printz Award