Monday, August 13, 2012

Best Book Bets - 8/14/12

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Clocker Toon has your hot sheet for late summer reads!

(Random House)
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
CLOTH. Welcome to the compassionate side of distopian fiction. Where Cormac McCarthy drags us down the gut-wrenching Road Peter Heller sees an aspect to our humanity that does beyond survival. I thought of Harlan Ellison's A Boy and his Dog for an instant since the novel concerns a man cruising the post-apocalypse with dog as his co-pilot. Where Ellison more than hints that we as a race get what we deserve, Heller agrees but concedes that what we deserve, what we are capable of, is seeing the beauty it what still is. His stint as editor of such man-reads as Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, and NatGeo Outdoors serves him well here. I loved his novel Kook, about an everyman compelled to embrace the California dream of surfing. Here again he captures the true heart of masculinity, tough, guarded and deep with suppressed emotions. In this novel, our pilot, forced off the grid by global tragedy, hovers above the remains, hunting and fishing not only for survival but for the link it has to his old life, Then he hears a radio transmission like the whisper of a promise and he ventures forth to recapture what he almost lost, community.

(Reagan Arthur)
What in God's Name? by Simon Rich
CLOTH. You thought the U.S.A. was getting too corporate? Now it can be revealed, Heaven is incorporated and God, the CEO, is burnt out and just wants to whip up an Armageddon. Our world is now in the hands of two angels in the Dept. of Miracles, employees who really, really like there jobs. God will call off the horsemen if the do goody good angels can make two unlikely, socially inempt characters on earth to fall in love. For Simon Rich, one of the funniest guys out there you may not have heard of (from Pixar to SNL with a slew of stories, even a novel already under his belt, yeah, he's got comedy chops) this is fertile ground to weave a humorous mix of oddball sentimentality. Here he comes across like the lovechild of Albert Brooks and the late, great, queen of comedic romance, Nora Ephron (I mean that as a good thing, Brooks without the neurosis, Ephron without the schmaltz)
Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz
 CLOTH. There was a day when you would have to wait and wait for a new Odd Thomas or Frankenstein novel from Koontz so its reassuring for fans that his impressive output has become more timely without sacrificing quality. Odd Thomas, a fry cook thrown into paranormal mysteries not unlike Repairman Jack, sees the dead which is a great help when trying to unravel evil curses and the like. This is all done with an author’s wink of the eye and witty banter making the creepy more of a fun house ride than disturbing images that will keep you awake on hot summer nights. Odd’s latest haunts are housed in a Hollywood mansion named Roseland which could prove to be his own personal Overlook Hotel. If you follow this series you will not be disappointed. If not, what are you waiting for, welcome the Odd into your reading life. P.S.- cool goose egg (can books have them, answer now is yes). With a Koontz app you can watch one of his disturbing visions unfold on the cover!

(New Market)
The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb
CLOTH NONFICTION. Forget amount Shark Week, in New England its been Shark Summer. We don't need a mechanical shark to scare us when great whites are actually feeding on our shores. That said, Jaws is back! Coinciding with the Blue Ray release of the '70's horror classic (like the reissue of the retro Narragansett beer cans Quint crushed on his head) this classic behind-the-scenes documentation of the ill-fated film production that almost got its director banned from the industry reads as fresh as it did in 1975. I owned a copy and bent the paperback pages back until it fanned in the sea breeze. Now available in hardcover with an ample amount of interesting footnotes and esoterica, this captain's log reporting one mishap after another makes for one fine read for anyone who loves the extras attached to their movie discs. New England locals will especially enjoy all the Vineyard references. The resulting movie propelled Spielberg into one of the greatest filmmakers of our time but not without him facing Murphy's Law straight on. We might fear the dum-dum-dum and what lurks beneath the waves, but this book reports Steven's nightmare. 
Young Adult Hot Pick of the Week!
(Henry Holt)
Guy-Write; What Every Guy Writer Needs To Know 
by Ralph Fletcher
YOUNG ADULT NON-FICTION. It It sounds like stereotype, but guys read less than gals AND dudes write less than dude-ettes (but you could never tell by looking at the ratio of men vs women published writers, go figure?) Fletcher tapped into the first problem with Jon Scieszka in the book Guys Write for Guys Read: Boy's Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys. Now he attacks the phobia many boys have with essays and other writing assignments at school. Fletcher makes sport of the task of writing, giving tips to engage the rapscallions into tapping into their creativity, whether its about serious issues or farting. It all comes from the same place. Boys don't like swinging a bat until they learn how. Same with writing. Here's some of the coaching they need to be as confident with a pen in their hand as they are up at bat!

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