The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns: Literary Tastes Pick

I got some exciting news! I happened to glance at my phone and see that my trusty friend Sarah McCoy (author of THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER and all-around awesome lady) Tweeted  that THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS won the American Library Association’s Best Women’s Fiction award for 2013!

 Every year, the Reference and User’s Association (RUSA) picks their “Literary Tastes” awards across different genres. 

Woot woot! 

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 9780307588364)
It’s her fifth wedding anniversary: where’s Amy? Assumptions are dangerous in this chilling psychological thriller. The dark and twisty plot, unbearable levels of tension, and merciless pacing will rivet readers.

“The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith
“Before I Go to Sleep” by SJ Watson
“Defending Jacob” by William Landay

Short List
“The Fear Artist” by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime, 9781616951122)
“Into The Darkest Corner” by Elizabeth Haynes (HarperCollins, 9780062197252)
“The Survivor” by Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin’s Press, 9780312625511)
“The Inquisitor” by Mark Allen Smith (Henry Holt, 9780805094268)

“The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley (Little, Brown, 9780316098793)
When Myfanwy wakes up with no memory, surrounded by corpses, she must immediately impersonate herself in order to unravel the conspiracy at the heart of a secret supernatural intelligence agency. This offbeat debut combines the fast pacing and suspense of a thriller with the gritty, detailed world-building of urban fantasy.

“The Demi-Monde: Winter” by Rod Rees
“The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde
“The Domino Men” by Jonathan Barnes

Short List
“The Troupe” by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit, 9780316187527)
“The Steel Seraglio” by by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey (ChiZine, 9781926851532)
“The Killing Moon” by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit, 9780316187282)
“Alif the Unseen” by G. Willow Wilson (Grove, 9780802120205)

“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt, 9780805090031)
Ambitious royal advisor Thomas Cromwell is at the pinnacle of his power and uses it to subtly engineer the downfall of his enemies, including the Queen, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle. This intricately plotted character study presents a fresh perspective on the ever popular Tudor Court.

“Mary, the Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley” by Alison Weir
“A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt
“I, Claudius” by Robert Graves

Short List
“Sarah Thornhill” by Kate Grenville (Grove, 9780802120243)
“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller (Ecco, 9780062060617)
“Sutton” by J.R.Moehringer (Hyperion, 9781401323141)
“The Cove” by Ron Rash (Ecco, 9780061804199)

“The Ritual” by Adam Nevill (St. Martin’s, 9780312641849)
In the remote forests of Sweden, the friendship between four men disintegrates when they wander off the hiking trail and find themselves stalked by an unseen and increasingly violent menace. “Blair Witch” meets black metal in this dark and suspenseful horror novel.

“The Ruins” by Scott Spencer
“Deliverance” by James Dickey
“Neverland” by Douglas Clegg

Short List
“Breed” by Chase Novak (Mullholland Books, 9780316198561)
“The Haunting of Maddy Clare” by Simone St. James (New American Library, 9780451235688)
“This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It” by David Wong (St. Martin’s Press, 9780312546342)
“The Return Man” by V. M. Zito (Orbit, 9780316218283)

“The Gods of Gotham” by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam, 9780399158377)
The discovery of a mass grave of child prostitutes spurs “copper star” Timothy Wilde to hunt a killer through the seamy underbelly of 1840s New York City. Colorful period slang enlivens this carefully researched story about the dawn of modern policing.

“The Yard” by Alex Grecian
“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr
“Gangs of New York” (film, Miramax, 2002)

Short List
“Don’t Ever Get Old” by Daniel Friedman (Putnam, 9780312606930)
“Trickster’s Point” by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books, 9781451645675)
“The Chalk Girl” by Carol O’Connell (Putnam, 9780399157745)
“The Beautiful Mystery” by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 9780312655464)

“Firelight” by Kristen Callihan (Grand Central, 9781455508594)
Bartered as a bride to the masked nobleman Benjamin Archer, Miranda Ellis – a woman with a supernatural secret – becomes his only defender when he is accused of a series of murders. This is a dark and smoldering Victorian paranormal where love redeems two complex and damaged characters.

“When Beauty Tamed” the Beast by Eloisa James
“Second Sight” by Amanda Quick
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Short List
“The Black Hawk” by Joanna Bourne (Berkley, 9780425244531)
“At Your Pleasure” by Meredith Duran (Pocket Star, 9781451606959)
“Lucky in Love” by Jill Shalvis (Forever, 9781455503728)
“A Lady Awakened” by Cecelia Grant (Bantam, 9780553593839)

“Caliban’s War” by James S. A. Corey (Orbit, 9780316129060)
One wants control; one wants vindication; one wants his daughter back; and one wants revenge (and maybe a new suit). The shifting points of view of these four distinctive characters, an electrifying pace, and the threat of an evolving alien protomolecule propel readers through this grand space adventure.

“Hellhole” by Brian Herbert and Keven J. Anderson
“Gardens of the Sun” by Paul McAuley
“The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi

Short List
“The Hydrogen Sonata” by Iain M. Banks (Orbit, 9780316212373)
“11/22/63” by Stephen King (Scribner, 9781451627282)
“After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Tachyon, 9781616960650)
“Exogene” by T.C. McCarthy (Orbit, 9780316128155)

“The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns” by Margaret Dilloway (Putnam, 9780399157752)
Galilee Garner’s carefully managed routine of teaching, rose breeding, and kidney dialysis is disrupted when her teenage niece moves in. Readers will root for the growth of this prickly character as she discovers the importance of cultivating human connections.

“Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout
“The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
“As Good as it Gets” (film, Columbia Tristar, 1997)

Short List
“Wife 22” by Melanie Gideon (Ballantine, 9780345527950)
“A Grown Up Kind of Pretty” by Joshilyn Jackson (Grand Central, 9780446582353)
“The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton (Atria Books, 9781439152805)
“I’ve Got Your Number” by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, 9780385342063)



Rock Bottom Remainders at ALA

This is the fact: I generally have a better time when I am wearing flats, not heels. Heels (the possible exception being those leather-soled ballroom dance heels, which I haven’t broken out for years) force me into being an observer rather than a participant.

You should be glad I thought of this last night as I went to the last Rock Bottom Remainder concert ever at the ALA (American Library Association) Annual in Anaheim and was able to obtain these pictures and video just for you. If I were wearing heels, I would have had to sit down instead of standing up front for two hours, right behind the ropes, in the middle of the librarian mosh pit.

This is a band made of up Stephen King, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Roy Blount Jr, Ridley Pearson, and several others– I gathered that they got other authors and musicians to come up on stage with them, too, like Bruce Springsteen and the late Frank McCourt. Last night, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds appeared. The founder, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and wife of Dave Barry’s brother Scott (who plays harmonica and some kind of recorder/pipe thing in the band) passed away, and her guitar was front and center in tribute. Barry said it wasn’t the same without her.


Mitch Albom (I’m pretty sure it was he who said this, but I didn’t record it on a mic or anything so forgive me any mis-attributions) said that part of the band’s appeal was that basically writers wanted to hang out with musicians, and musicians wanted to hang out with writers. Thus I concluded I need to find some musicians to hang out with, but somehow never find any in my daily rounds of kid-drop off/gym/grocery store. Hmm. Have to think on that one.

And oh my gosh! You would think librarians wouldn’t mosh…and they don’t. The wildest thing that happened was that several of them went beyond the rope to sit and take photos. Escandaloso! One lady sat on my foot. Double escandaloso!


All Matt Groening did was kind of entertainingly lumber back and forth. I don’t know if they even let the poor guy sing or if he was just pretending to. His rhythm improved when he put on a mask. He had Marge Simpson and Groundskeeper Willie.






I did some other stuff at ALA that I’ll write about tomorrow. I actually signed in the Penguin booth at the same time as Ridley Pearson, but we might as well have been in different cities. I wanted to tell him how much my fam likes Kingdom Keepers (which is about Disney; I wonder if he gets a cut-in-line pass because of it?). It was a busy day.

Here are a couple of videos. I think the title of Amy Tan’s should be Amy Tan Unleashed, or “100 Shades of Tan.” Watch it and see.