Feeling a little fictional? Visit the Juneau library

Posted: Friday, October 06, 2006

Take a look at a few of the new fiction titles on the shelves now at the Juneau Public Libraries.

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"Touchy Subjects," by Emma Donoghue. This collection of sparely written short stories deals with those uncomfortable situations that can come up in relationships. In one story, a husband and wife pick a paint color for a house, in another, a couple's discussion on how much money to spend on a sick pet puts a deep rift in their relationship, and in a third, two women lose their chance to become a couple because they are each too polite to tell the other how they feel. Donoghue gets into the skin of her characters and sees the humor in awkward situations without ever letting the stories lose their compassionate edge.

"A Piece of Normal," by Sandi Kahn Shelton. Lily is the person with all the answers for everyone from her 4-year old son to the readers of her newspaper advice column. But, with her former husband wanting to get back together and her decade-gone runaway sister returned to the roost, she finds herself facing some hard questions. What does it mean that she hasn't changed a thing in her parents' house, even though they've been dead for 12 years? What is she going to do with the secrets her sister brought home with her? And will she ever be able to relax and enjoy the chaos of life?

"Disco for the Departed," by Colin Cotterill. This third mystery to feature Dr. Siri Paiboun, shaman and Laos's national coroner, and his assistant, Nurse Dtui, starts out with an embarrassing emergency. On the eve of a national celebration, an arm has been found sticking out of the concrete walkway near the President's new mansion. Encouraged to quickly and discreetly exhume the body, identify it, and discover the cause of death, Dr. Paiboun finds himself dancing to phantom disco music and learning first-hand about Caribbean black magic from a visiting Cuban surgeon. An unusual and engrossing series.

"The Lost Van Gogh," by A.J. Zerries. When a long-lost Van Gogh painting arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art via UPS one day, NYPD art theft specialist Clay Ryder gets assigned the case. The painting's whereabouts have been unknown since the German SS officer accused of stealing it died in a car crash at the end of World War II. Who had it for the last half-century? And whose is it now? When Ryder tracks down its rightful owner and presents her with the painting, the mystery deepens. Museums around the world begin a bidding war which turns violent and eventually involves the Mossad in this intense first novel.

"The Good Works of Ayela Linde," by Charlotte Forbes. Told in a series of short stories that all revolve around its heroine, Ayela Linde, this novel captures the complexities of a life in a small border town during the Depression. Tales are told by Ayela's childhood friend, her housekeeper, a travel agent, and more, giving readers a kaleidoscopic look at an enigmatic woman who lays out and follows her own rules, and whose good works are small but vital.

"The Dreaming," by Queenie Chan. The first in a trilogy, this graphic novel mixes manga-style art with gothic horror in the Australian bush. Identical twins Amber and Jeanie arrive at a remote boarding school to find something creepy going on. First off, their aunt tells them not to let anyone know they are twins, or they will be expelled. Then they meet the creepy vice-principal and start having identical dreams about bloody rain and Victorian dresses. When one of their classmates disappears, and Jeanie and Amber join the search party, they find that the bush holds the secret to their strange dreams.

Kids, come to the Douglas Library this Saturday, October 7th at 1 pm to help us celebrate Fire Prevention Week with stories and the chance to meet firefighters and see their firetrucks and gear.

Adults, come to the downtown library on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 to take a virtual tour of Southeast Alaska and learn about our wildlife, geology, and marine environment with Riley Woodford. For more information about both these programs, see our Web site.

As always, placing a hold on our material is easy: call the Juneau Public Libraries at 586-5249, or, if you have internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site (www.juneau.org/library) and looking at our catalog or at the In the Stacks column on our site. The columns are linked to the catalog: Simply click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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