Thursday, March 21, 2013

Best Book Bets - 3/12/2013

Spring ahead, that's the promise anyways. Until then we have some new books to help you through the last of this Winter's nights. Throw another log on the fire and crack on of these sure things open.There is not a one you will consider using as kindling. 6 novels including one by a true master, 2 non-fictions, 2 young adult, 2 independent reader, and 2 to keep the kiddos smiling while they they are wrapped warm and being read to.

The Accursed - Joyce Carol Oates 
(FICTION/CLOTH) With well over fifty novels to her credit Oates output is enough to make Stephen King blush. She has written in every form and genre imaginable and neer a dud among them. This is a novel that she had put away for a while. It is our good fortune that she was able to progress past the death of her first husband and recommit. The result is seen in the emotional urgency of her latest work. This gem has her signature cast of horrors both paranormal and tragically all to ordinary. A small town of literati including the author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair are put on trial by the devil himself after  a innocent is hanged and the incident is swept under the rug by the townspeople. It reads like a finely detailed historical with garish strokes of blood chilling dread; perfect Joyce.
Rage Against the Dying - Becky Masterman
(FICTION/CLOTH) The beginning of this novel will creep you out no end as you encounter sexual deviancy from the perspective of the perpetrator. Then you are thrust into one of the best crime dramas since Gone, Girl as we follow FBI agent Brigid Quinn as she hunts down the real killer of the biggest case of her career, one she had thought solved and confessed to long ago. Alas a normal life elludes her as one revelation after another reopens the case in alarming and unexpected pace. Don't worry, Quinn is the best at what she does and is well up for the challenge even if it destroys her personal life. Masterman is a fierce new voice in the crime novel marketplace.
(Blue Rider)
Mary Coin - Marisa Silver

(FICTION/CLOTH) The photograph of the migrant mother by Dorothea Lange is one of the most iconic photographs in American history, capturing the devastation of The Great Depression and the determination of the human spirit against seemingly insurmountable odds. Silver even uses it as her cover of her first novel since The God of War. This becomes the starting off point for this inspired novel as it follows the life of the photographer and of her subject as there lives continue long after the photograph is published. One is lathered with notoriety while another contends with survival. One woman self-involved, another selfless, we witness their lives unfolding in parallel contending with similar life-testing moments in vastly different ways. The words are vibrant, the stories compelling, and the sense that a photograph, no matter how famous is but a snapshot, a moment in time captured, its meaning nothing more than interpretations of life resonates in the lives of these two women who are both polar opposites of each other.

A Map of Tulsa - Benjamin Lytal
(FICTION/CLOTH)  This novel captures the tone of Larry McMurtry's Last Picture Show. It is a tone poem to first love, a girl and a home town, each equally embraced by this debut author. Instead of the 50's its the 90's and instead of Texas its Oklahoma, but that aside the passion, the uncertainty, and the willingness to appreciate the world is the same. Jim Praley comes home from college ready to take the journalism world by storm. What he discovers in Tulsa is an earthy romance both with a free spirit of a girl and with the town he left behind. A New Yorker staffer, Lytal knows his craft but you don't expect the lyrical nature of his prose. Where McMurtry is a literary minimalist, Lytal is more in the Eggars/Chabon camp; whatever it takes to bring us to an honest place.

A Turn of Light - Julie E. Czerneda
(FICTION/CLOTH) Paranormal romance for adults? Czerneda weaves a classic piece of fantasy while dodging many of the genre's trappings. Marrowdell is at the junction between this world and the Verge which is accessible at sunset akin to twilight in much folklore. Jenn is a special woman with her feet in both worlds, it is to her normal. She also has an invisible friend she never grew out of. Her friend, Wisp takes the form of a dragon meaning to take her to the other side. With a man by her side she might have the strength to leave. A flubbed spell turns the dragon into a man just as the two of them realize that the Verge doesn't just deliver friendly beings like Wisp. Now the real adventure begins. You don't need to be a D&D devotee to enjoy this book. The elevated language makes this novel read far better than most young adult fare and should please even the casual fantasy reader.

Red Doc> -  Anne Carson
(FICTION/CLOTH) Carson revisits her crowning triumph, Autobiography of Red, a mythic tale of Geryon, a red-winged demon boy. Referred to as "G" in this sequel, he's grown past adolescence and approaches adulthood . He is still moody, his classic soul bored by our insipid pop culture, and he still lusts for some connection with the world around him. Coming in at 192 pages this oddly challenging book is still epic but in a personal way. "To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing" and for a demon, to own human emotions can be devastating. Oh, did I mention it was poetry? Yes, poetry, alive and well and beating with a demonic fervor.
Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) This memoir is less about the devastating events that occurred December 26th, 2004 in Sri Lanka than it is about the refusal to give up even in the face of the unfathomable horror of a tsunami. Although a survivor, Deraniyagala lost her whole family to the ocean. She describes the event as it unfolds in unflinching detail. The real story begins the next day as she struggles to reassemble some semblance of a life after the water recedes. Her struggling with her fate is intersperced with glimpses of the people she loved and the life she lost. Only by putting the memories to bed in her heart can she truely move forward. We read along as she finds the courage to embrace both the past and the life she is still living.

Raising Cubby - John Elder Robison 
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) Seeing the world through another person's eyes was never more appropriate than with this author's Look Me In The Eye. It was insightful, compassionate, and even funny at times, all the while giving us a glimpse of the world through the eyes of an individual with Asperger's. Now Robison kicks it up a notch adding fast cars, a dangerous lifestyle, fatherhood, and things that go BOOM to the mix. His unique mode of communication with his son keeps us grinning and as time passes seeing his offspring as a reflection of himself as a youth fills us with forebode. This memoir goes beyond his view of the world and functioning in it and shows us the fears and emotional ties that hold his life together.
Feral Nights -  Cynthai Leitich Smith
(YOUNG ADULT/CLOTH)  Who needs werewolves when you can have were-everything? Bear with me as I set this up for you. Were-possum Clyde from her Tantalize series bump in the night into a were-cat named Yoshi as they try to solve the murder of were-armadillo Travis. The road leads to a were reserve where (sic) they are all hunted for sport. I know, sounds as hocky as all get-out but it all works because of the skills of a proven storyteller and the simple fact that you care about all the were-critters, especially meek Clyde, always a fan favorite. Tonight a hero will arise!
(Balzer + Bray/Harperteen)
Crash and Burn - Michael Hassan
(YOUNG ADULT/CLOTH)  It sure didn't take long for Newtown-based stories to hit the young adult book shelves. Here is a book about characters with an unhealthy obsession with destruction. Crash Crashinsky averted a school tragedy by preventing classmate David Burnett from setting off his arsenal at school. He becomes a national hero of sorts. Little do people know the back story of how he is linked to the potential massacre. While far more candy-glossed than King's Rage Hassan mulls over the cause and effect of alienation and seeing oneself as a loner and how slippery a slope it is to go from depression, repression to rage. A bitter pill for the troubled teen.

Navigating Early - Clare Vanderpool
(INDEPENDENT READER) We're always a sucker for a novel with a New England local and it definitely becomes a character in this tale of a formerly landlocked boy from Kansas when he is sent to school in Maine. e befriends Early Auden, a most unusual boy who tracks bears and is obsessed with the mathamatical number Pi. Driven by the legend of The Fish, a local who never came back from WWII they set on their own adventure on the Appalachian Trail in search of black bears and their destiny. Like math, sometimes there are no easy answers.

(Little, Brown)
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest - Charles de Lint, illus. by Charles Vess
(INDEPENDENT READER) To live in Tanglewood Forest and never been touched by the magic all around her? INCONCEIVABLE! Lillian hunts for fairies everywhere in the forest but to no avail. After having her life saved she becomes a wisp of her own and is transformed into a kitten by the cats that inhabit the magical forest. Thus begins her tale from kitten to cat to magic touched youth as she lives out the fable of her dreams. Whimsical illustrations fill in the world she roams making for a light romp towards destiny.

Nugget & Fang - Tammi Sauer, illus. Michael Slack
(CHILDREN)  Kids love sharks. It's a fact. Take one sharp- toothed blue and have him buddy-up with a minnow of a fish Nugget and how can you resist. Is it a friendship or just Fang's next meal? Turn the page (Bummm-bum. Bummm-bum. Bum-bum-bum-bum...) When Fang meets his minnow friend's school will he  Greatr illustration as fun as this story of taking a chance on friendship.

Pirates vs Cowboys - Aaron Reynolds, illus. David Barneda
(CHILDREN)  When it comes to ornery hombres that kids love it's a toss-up between pirates (arrrr!) or cowboys (yippie ki yi yay!) Burnt Beard's crew looks for treasure in the wild west only to lock horns with Black Bob and his posse. Seems there can only be one band of scallywags in this county. To add to the conflict Cowboys don't understand pirate-speak and visa-versa. Great fun from the twisted mind that brought us the demented Creepy Carrots last year.Sure to be a new bedtime favorite as long as you act out the parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment