Monday, August 27, 2012

Best Book Bets - 8/28/2012

Bottom of the Ninth

We've already taken the seventh inning stretch but that doesn't mean our summer's over. You still have a couple lazy weeks to tear through your summer reads. Need to replenish the beach bag, here's a few and not a knuckle ball amongst them (knuckleheads? That's another thing.)

Lionel Asbo; State of England  by Martin Amis
CLOTH. What if the bully amongst bullies, as nefarious and sin-consumed as a criminal can be, wins the lottery. Will it send him on a downhill cart straight to hell or will their be an epiphany? (personally fueling pit bulls with tabasco sauce gets you that one way ticket to Danteland be I regress.) How will Desmond, the well meaning orphan, the only thing outside of his greed Lionel cares for with a Dickensian loyalty, influence what the man does with his new found riches? Equally peppered with black humor and pathos Amis' 13th novel finds a masterful mix that is as much a commentary of our culture as it is on our consumer hunger and soullessness.  A surprisingly moving moral tale.

(Grand Central)
Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Reed
CLOTH. If you are looking for a new mystery heroine to read up on and haven't already discovered Madeline Dare, here is a great start. This fish out of water tale takes her off of the mean streets. Now she pursues the idealistic dream of the suburban housewife. Her passions not being fanned by the doldrums of child rearing and being a domestic goddess she dabbles once again in journalism at the local paper in Bolder, Colorado. The town is not exactly the hotbed of criminal activity, or so she fought. Soon she finds herself in a battle between an arsonist's rage and her maternal instincts. Her greatest fears are realized as the underbelly of her trade takes sights on the other love of her life, family. Trick is Madeline isn't your run of the mill Stepford Wife and the criminal has bitten off more than he can chew, the pages turn themselves.

(Henry Holt)
Me Who Dove Into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman
 CLOTH. Sometimes I'm just in awe at the original story lines authors come up with. This debut novel by Mexican playwright/poet Berman is a beautiful tale of finding one's purpose in life. The Me of the title is Karen, an idiot savant, raised feral during the early part of her life, now under the care a family of fishermen. She wanders the beach alone, communing with the sea life. Under her aunt's care she comes into her own and, similar to Temple Grandin devising the cow hugging machine for slaughterhouses, Karen proposes that the family's tuna industry could become caring fishing. What follows is Karen's fame, inspiration and controversy as she just follows her heart. A lyrical examination of how we ethically fit in the food chain.

(W W Norton)
Dreamland; Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep 
by Davis K. Randall
CLOTH NONFICTION. We've always heard that a good night's sleep will do us a world of wonders but outside of resting the body to restore itself physically we don't really consider the restorative qualities of what goes on behind the curtain once our eyes are closed. As entertaining as it is enlightening (quite like the best of dreams) Randall's examination of dreaming is constantly fascinating. This is not about dream interpretation rather the ramifications of dreaming (or not) on everyone around us. What he uncovers is at times alarming, often humorous, and always insightful scientific revelations and testimonies on the inner workings of the mind. Hoping that what it reveals doesn't keep you awake, enjoy, then sleep, perhaps to dream. 

(Harper Perennial)
Bottom of the 33rd;  
Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry

TRADE NONFICTION. This new baseball classic came out in paperback this spring just as our beloved boys of summer returned to give us the thrills only that quintessential summer sport can. The team I'm talking about (especially after this season) is our beloved PawSox. Pulitzer prize finalist Barry tells a masterful tale presenting the baseball game that just wouldn't end in epic proportions. More than just documenting this oddity in the world of baseball it captures the spirit of the game that drives every minor league player game after game and draws true lovers of the sport to the Cape year after year.
Young Adult Hot Pick of the Week!
Splendors and Gloom  by Laura Amy Schlitz
IR/YOUNG ADULT. First things first, dolls, especially puppets, freak me out. So all I need to hear is that Newbery Award winner Schiltz is putting out a gothic tale featuring the creepy things and I'm cautiously eager. Based in London (sure, that's where they have some really creepy Victorian dollies, right?) it is the tale of a master puppeteer who is famed for creating uncannily realistic puppets (gulp!) . Wealthy child Clara asks for him to perform for her at her ritzy birthday party. He arrives with his two orphan assistants and they are all in awe of Clara's world of oppulence. Then guess what happens? Right, she disappears. Sounds like its by rote but the story is original and the children are well fleshed out. What follows is one creepfest as the puppeteer and an evil witch battle to see who really pulls the strings. Think of this as a period piece Coraline, entertaining but riddled with an eeirie horror that gets under your skin (or is that just me?)

No comments:

Post a Comment