Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Book Bets 7/17/12

Hot! Hot! Hot!  
Not only out by the pool, this summer has been a literary heat wave with no sign of letting up. Here’s some new release recommends to pass the lazy, crazy days.
Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
Yet another MUST READ. We read reports of genocide, staggering numbers, at the same time horrifying and strangely distant. Some families have been touched directly by the senseless devastation and their personal testimonies give a face to the unfathomable. Bohjalian pulls deep from his family’s emotional well as he shares the events of the Armenian genocide through a fictionalized tale of the loves, losses and confusions of allegiance his parents endured before finally embracing the American, rather Armenian American dream.  As archived by a young family member, the life drama unfurls and  what it takes to embrace life in uncertain times is revealed.
Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
As sure as the return of the plovers when its summer in New England summer read enthusiasts anticipate the arrival of the latest Claire Cook novel. Nationally known as the author of Must Love Dogs, Claire oeuvre embraces the freedom of a sandy shore and futures of possibility. With backdrops of fictional seaside towns (Scituate, Duxbury, hmmm?) she provides the reader with retreats where life’s little riddles can be solved. This time its Deirdre Griffin who has to discover the joy within and between walking out of the shadow of her celebrity brother and dancing with the stars (for real!) Wallflower is another in a catalog of feel good, pick-yourself-up-by-the -bootstrap novels that squeaks a tear then prompts a smile.

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
Illustrated by Andrea Dezso
This gruesome collection of fractured fairy tales is NOT for children. This is NOT A Tale Dark and Grimm which was also a clever reinterpretation of fables. This IS a collection of twenty twisted tales told in free verse with black silhouette illustrations rebooted for a new generation. Sounds innocent enough right? What it IS is subversive, what it IS is gory (or perhaps Gorey?) Koertge, a noted YA author has embraced his dark side with a delicious sense of irreverence that makes this book your guilty pleasure of the year. DISCLAIMER- If your child gets a hold of this wicked collection we can not and will not be held responsible for the consequences.
The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell
(trade paperback) Anyone alive at the time have been asked the one question that bound a nation together, Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? Not the interruption of the soap opera incident followed by a brave boy saluting, the first Kennedy, RFK. The photographs of the mass of humanity in mourning as his body was delivered for burial is etched in our minds but this auspicious debut novel, uses multiple character storylines of a diverse group of people, a cross cut of our fractured nation, to capture the time and place. The result is effecting as the incident was on our social consciousness, a haunting meditation on loss.
                               Young Adult Release
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Mash-ups either work (Pride & Prejudice & Zombies) or they don’t (Sense & Sensibilities & Sea Monsters) Sometimes they are pure brilliance. Take Cinderella and give it a futuristic twist. Add some steam punk esthetic and you get one of the best young adult reads of the season. Cinder is a cyborg who falls for a human prince only to find that she aspires to break taboos, she has fallen into the middle of interplanetary war. Add human’s vulnerability to disease and what’s a machine to do? The Asian cultural references make this dystopian world entirely here own. The follow-up in this Lunar Chronicles series, Scarlet drops early next year (yes, another fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood to be followed by Rapunzel and Snow White) Can she keep it as fresh as this debut, only time will tell, but she has started with a bang!

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