Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Best Book Bets - 4/23/2013

So this the week that Baldacci gives us The Hit. He one of the better mystery thriller writers out there and the Bookie's sure It'll please the author's fan base. He assumes they already know that it's hitting the stacks this Tuesday. No need for the Bookie to pull it out of the slush of new releases even though it is a safe bet. Same thing goes with Kristin Hannah's new book, Fly Away. The lovers of her  touchey-feeley populist prose will be glad she released a new novel in time for summer. These preordained bestsellers don't need the Bookie's Midas touch even if they worthy of it. The Bookie makes an exception with the new release by bestselling author Lisa Scottoline; timely in a world of PTSD and bravely out of her wheelhouse. Read all about it, it's another winner from the Bookie!

The Golem and the Jinni  -  Helene Wecker  
(FICTION/CLOTH) Just over a year ago we were blessed by the phantasmagorical debut novel The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This year's darling debut is tonally is akin, enchanting and fantastic combining the historical reference of Diana Galbandon with the supernatural freshness of Ursula K. LeGuin. The tale is woven from Jewish/Arab folklore. It is turn of the last century Manhattan. Chava the girl golem rises from clay due to Kabbal gone wrong. Ahmad the jinni, think of him as a ghostly Flash. They both are tethered from this world, afraid of what they could afflict upon it. Together  they fight to survive in our world until a disaster tears them away from our existence and each other. Where do their hearts lie? Read on and be transported to a heartfelt phantom world.

(Little, Brown)
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls  - David Sedaris 
(FICTION/CLOTH) This is intentionally put in our fiction section though Sedaris' books are listed as memoir. He has on more than one occasion referred to them as fictionalized truth. No matter, this man can't write an unfunny word, one of the few writers who bring tears of laughter to The Bookie's eyes. The title sounds like it might be a sequel to his set of animal parables,Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, but it is luckily a new set of general essays from his quirky life. He takes us on a whirlwind world tour of the left of center. If you need a good laugh come along for the ride. He gives Costco the same treatment he did Macy's in his first collection. You'll never look at the store and its inhabitants the same way again.
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots - Jessica Soffer
(FICTION/CLOTH) This is a beautiful story about familial love;the strength and bounds of our biological and adopted families and the family of friends we grow as we go through life. It is also about food and how it is the thing that bounds both families, races, and societies. It is also about loss and blame, at least that's what you assume when we look at Lorca's arm. She so wants the love of her chef mother but feels she being shipped off to boarding scholl for being nothing but a nuisance. If only she could make her mother's favorite, rare recipe, masgouf, she could win her approval. She starts taking cooking lessons with Victoria who grieves the loss of her daughter. Together they cook through their troubles learning their bond may be closer than it first appears. Sweet without being saccharine, tart when needed, this is a full portion of emotional goodness without any filler.

(St Martins)
Don't Go -  Lisa Scottoline  
(FICTION/CLOTH) This author knows the psyche of women and has built a loyal following. Her heroine's are strong willed, family centric Valkyries. Here she takes the same qualities and switches genders with doctor Mike. He answers the call to war to help the troops in Afghanistan, leaving the wife and child he loves to contend with him away. While the doctor heals our troops his wife dies at home Before him is a new war as he attempts to start his life and career again with a baby girl who doesn't even know him as her Dad. Scottoline pulls out all the emotional tender hooks she juggles so well as we struggle with the good doctor as he fights for truth, justice and a fractured but functional version of the  American dream of family.

(Pamela Dorman)
The House at the End of Hope Street Menna Van Praag
(FICTION/CLOTH)  This debut novel reads like a beautiful dream. In this dream there is a house that is filled with talking portraits that serve as muses for the damaged people who come to visit. Alba finds herself on Hope Street (sic) at it's door and takes a chance staying there with its caretaker, the elderly Peggy. They hit it off nicely each in need of company and a sympathetic ear. She soon witnesses the buildings magic as it starts to heal her emotional wounds. She is destined to be the next individual touched by the house. She's in good company; Beatrix Potter, George Eliot, a cast of literary characters have been similarly been saved, moved,within its's walls. Its a light-hearted dream dreamt by a reader, visions bathed in English lavender.

Unnatural Creatures - edited by Neil Gaiman
(FICTION/CLOTH) This certainly looks like the year of the Gaimen and he is indeed an unnatural creature with a volume of creative output this past year. Just this week alone there are two releases. This is a collection of stories chosen by him of things he loves; things that go bump or grr in the night. Want to read about werewolves? Got you covered. Something more exotic, a griffin maybe? Right here.16 tales of obscure and fascinating creatures possessing maniacal powers to keep the reader enchanted.A Gaiman story is included in the bunch (
The only thing that isn't creepy about this collect is that the proceeds go toward the literacy nonprofit 826DC.(maybe we need to do this for the Boston chapter of 826, Hmmm.)

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation - Michael Pollan 
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) You know Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and  his  proclamation of the omnivore, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. His gift is analyzing food and its cultural significance in our society. He does this without presenting the material in a textbook style. His writing is akin to artisan bread. That that and Wonder Bread, essentially have then same ingredients but ohhh the difference. Here takes the four elements and begins a dissertation on what they contribute to the preparation of the food we eat. He elevates the profession of chef to a revered position in our tribes. His exclamations of the alchemy of cooking, how fungus ferments or heat caramelizes is indeed culinary magic and how in some parts of the world elevates the practitioners of these arts to the status of shaman.Throughout history food has been the centerpiece of our existence, the very glue that holds us together.

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II -  Mitchell Zuckoff   
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) The author who captivated the world with his documenation of surviavl in Shangrila comes back with another riviting account of life lived on the edge. Part survival story worthy of Jon Krakauer, part wartime thriller the likes of Clancy, Zuchoff presents this quest as if it was a Michael Bay blockbuster. It starts with the crash of two planes during World War II, a missing rescue partyt, and an unforgiving frozen wasteland.The survivors now have to combat against an unforgiving Artic Winter, 148 days more dangerous than their enemy. This book is a riveting page turner made even more impactful because this is non-fiction, people!

(Little,Brown YR)
manicpixiedreamgirl  -  Tom Leveen
(YOUNG ADULT)  This is like the best Glee episode ever, girlfriend; part because it flows in practically real time and because it has none of that irritating singing by actors who are so not high school age. The high drama doesn't take place on the stage at this high school. Tyler Darcy wants to be a writer, heck he is a published author now. He's somebody. His drama club friends have always had his back, shared his dream including his girlfriend but on this night he can't stop thinking about his high school infatuation Becky. Is he cool enough now to approach her, share his feelings for her or will that act destroy all that he has going for him.The drama reads real without the annoying quirky characters that drag down the television series it at times eerilly mimics.

(Blue Rider)
The Humanity Project - Jean Thompson
(YOUNG ADULT) It doesn't take long for the impact of Newtown to reach the book shelves. Luckily when the related themes are in the hands of a tried and true young adult author ( The Year We Left Home) we get a novel that is both suspenseful and thought-provoking. Linnea is the survivor of a school shooting. She is taken away from the town ad forced to live with her previously absent father. The only person Linnea can confide her feels to is the neighbor's handyman Conner, who is equally as troubled as her.Together they get involved with their parents and a neighborhood nurse's pet Humanity Project that aims to reward people to be good. Shouldn't that be its own reward and can you really repress the bad in the world. An interesting device to get us to ask the questions of a difficult new day. In the end its all about hope for all of us broken people, a powerful message after the smoke clears.

(Balzer + Bray)
House of Secrets -  Chris Columbus, Ned Vizzini, Greg Call
(INDEPENDENT READER)  Columbus knows a thing or two about telling tales to young ones. A Spielberg protege he went from penning parts of Gremlins and Goonies to directing films like Home Alone, a couple Harry Potter films and The Lightning Thief. Like the projects or not, he's got the chops and lends his sense of story to the first of the book series. Mr Walker loses his job and his kids have to move into the gothic Kristoff House constructed by a man obsessed with the occult. That can't be good.The adventure begins as they discover the secrets behind the house, its creator and their own family. Even though you start to think you've read variations of this before, it still makes for a fun ride., and to think that this is only book one!

(Harper Teen)
The Silver Dream; an Innerworld Novel - Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves
(INDEPENDENT READER)  Here's that Gaiman guy again part of a writing team launching a new science fiction series for young readers that plays with alternative worlds, quantum physics, a whole heap of heady stuff. The writing style however is assessable, never as daunting as the subject matter. Young Joey has just saved the world. That world is Altiverse. Joey can walk from our dimension to there. He makes an alliance for piece with the freedom fighters in that dimension. It seems that Joey is not the only one who can pass through and when Acacia follows him Joey's plans for peace are averted. Boom! Zap! The two make an uneasy alliance to save both worlds, dimensions, what have you... my head hurts.

(Balzar + Bray)
 That Is NOT a Good Idea!  - Mo Willems
(CHILDRENS) You gotta love this guy, Mo; what with his Knuffle Bunny, bus and hot dog lovin' pigeon, not to mention Piggie and Elephant who give Bert and Ernie a run for their money. Now he builds another children's storybook classic. Using the motif of the silent picture as his palette Willems tells the good and evil battle between a yummy goose and a hungry wolf. Its classic mashup of Tom and Jerry with Little Red Riding Hood fare with hysterical call outs the kids will want to join in on. An interactive chuckle you will be forced to read again and again and not reading it again and again would not be a good idea! (next time louder, kiddos!)

Steam Train, Dream Train - Tomi Ungerer
(CHILDREN) Isn't it the cutest thing ever how kids go through phases of fascination; sharks, moneys, bears, fairies, trucks and last but not least Trains. Here is a beautiful bedtime book for the choo-choo obsessed kiddo in your crib. This guy gave us Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site that fed off the truck fetish. Now the softly detailed dream train pulls into the station with a menagerie of animals and ice cream. Yawn! Yum! Choo! Chew! Next stop, Slumberland!

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