Friday, May 17, 2013

Best Book Bets - 5/14/2013

Before the Bookie presents this week's 6-2-2-2-2 (6 Fiction - 2 Non-Fiction - 2 Young Adult - 2 Independent Reader - 2 Children's) Best Bet picks for the we we would like to recommend this sharp little number perfect for the graduation days ahead.  

Make Good Art  -  Neil Gaimen, designed by Chip Kidd 
In 2012, Neil Gaiman (let's face it people, its the year of the Gaimen) gave the commencement at Philly U. of the Arts. He implored all artists  to paint outside the box focusing on quality not quantity. The start, sparse art design is a nod to the author's mandate. Inspiring for all creatives, graduates or not.

 Now here's the literary prognosticator's recommends for the week.

(Little Brown)
Inferno  -  Dan Brown  
(FICTION/CLOTH) We had to include the latest novel my the man who single handedly saved the book industry with The Davinci Code (sorry Patterson and E.L. James) It is another Langdon novel, this time his battle between good and evil is conducted by Dante. Again there's his slavish history research which he bends to his will if it serves his story. Their are enough factoids and puzzle clues to satisfy his fans. The inclusion of The Consortium, a amalgamation of every secret organization you may have feared keeps us from being buried under all the artifacts of Florence as he plays through The Divine Comedy to thwart the master plan of a deceased evil genius. 500 taunt pages of the same old-same old but if you were thrilled the first three times you won't be disappointed.

Southern Cross The Dog  - Bill Cheng 
(FICTION/CLOTH) In 1927 the great rains came followed by the Great Flood hits Bone Tree. Young Robert does steal a kiss from Dora before the town is destroyed and families  Robert's trial of pains continues in regugee camps, brothels, and swamps filled with more badmen than gators. Still, there's that kiss. A course yet masterful tale of a character who seems doomed to failure who hangs on to the one thing that can pull him through. It is also a commentary on a land hell bent on survival, just like Robert.

Is This Tomorrow - Caroline Levitt
(FICTION/CLOTH) Ava, a single mom struggles to survive after a divorce in the tough suburbs of Boston who don't warm up to strangers and people not like themselves. Her boy Lewis misses his father bad and only finds console with the two children, Jimmy and Rose who will talk to him. They are also being raised without a Dad. Then one of the boy just disappears. Lewis never gets over the incident as he grows older. Rose feeds her sorrow by caring for children. Ava's built a new life for herself, but Lewis can't move forward. When Lewis learns the truth about his lost friend everyone will be affected. A powerful tale of how life's incidents sculpt who we become.

(Simon & Schuster)
Dear Lucy -  Julie Sarkissian  
(FICTION/CLOTH) Sometimes all you need is a unique voice to guide you through a story to make for a great read. Little Lucy is left my her mother to live on a farm with an old couple. She wants to find her mother but fears that leaving the farm she would lose contact with her mother forever. Her only friend becomes a pregnant teen also living at the farm. The girl gives birth, then the baby is gone. Lucy decides if she can't reunite with her own Mom than she will at least bring the teen's baby back. She braves leaving the farm armed only with a chicken named Jennifer to make things right. You love this poetic and passionate girl from page one and root for her until the last.

(Random House)
A Duel Inheritance Joanna Hershon
(FICTION/CLOTH)    There is an allure cast from tales of the lives and loves of the affluent that have hooked readers from Austen to Fitzgerald until today. This is another tale of legacy and luck in love. It is 1963 on the campus of Harvard. Ed, a jew attending on scholarship and Hugh a Boston Brahmin. They hit it off immediately, best of friends. That ends as soon as it came. We then follow each of them on their separate paths only one knowing why the friendship was severed. Despite wealth, ethnicity and polar opposite personalities the two are still drawn to one another decades later. A terse look at the power of a bro-mance and what can sever the bond permanently.

The Blood of Heaven - Kent Wascom
(FICTION/TRADE) Here's a trippy, quasi-religious thriller for the loves of Robin Cook or Crighton. Devine blood has been discovered at a ruin that may be the very blood of Christ. Scientists find remarkable qualities to it through experimentation and decide to test the restorative properties of the blood on an inmate on death row. He could die, go mad, or perhaps become rehabilitated? The experiment with genetically modified behavior has fascinating results and the scientists continue working with the now released inmate. A neat spin on Clockwork Orange.This is the first of a series called Fire of Heaven and it is a neat device to conduct the battle of good vs evil; inside the soul of a condemned man.

Bunker Hill - Nathaniel Philbrick 
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) If you come from New England I know what you're thinking,'I've heard everything you ever want to know about Bunker Hill a million times.' Isn't that the same thing you would say about the pilgrims and look what life Philbrick brought to them in Mayflower. He again weilds his remarkable talent for narrative fiction by shedding new light on the events that lit the fire of freedom. Its after the tea party, after Lexington and Concord and Boston is shut off of supplies by the British. It wouldn't be long until the lid blows and Bunker Hill bleeds red. The author's research discovers the architects of the siege and gives us a glimpse into the souls of the players who fought against all odds against repression. The American Revolution never read so heartfelt and with such a visceral presentation.

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family -  Josh Hanagarne  
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) You want the story of an underdog. How about a six foot ten inch man with Tourette's. If your height doesn't alianate you the tics, pops, and swears will. Also what if you were Mormon? Meet Josh Hanagarne. Once diagnosed he became victim to many careless remedies including paralyzing his vocal chords. He meets a successful autistic individual who teaches him how to repress the condition's impulses through kettlebell training. Then he discovers a career as a librarian which finally connects him with the society that had for so long ostracized him. You learn about his condition, about intense weight training and about the library system; most importantly, you learn.

Running Press
Coda  -  Emma Trevayne
(YOUNG ADULT)  This is one trippy futuristic novel for the music-obsessed teen who has a hankering for science fiction. The big-brother organization, The Corp, feeds popular music with addictive elements that control the people. Young Anthem is all about the music, just not that mind control music. Anthem decides to go DIY with his underground rock band that plays unadulterated music. The Corp responds by giving one of his band mates an overdose and the game is on. There is also a femme fatale for Anthem to deal with. A nice metaphor for the generation raised on American Idol rather than punk. Let's hear it for anarchy in The Corps, bullocks!

Yellowcake - Margo Lanagan
(YOUNG ADULT) It is rare that you get a modern collection of short stories that will capture the interest of young adults if they don't have pretty vampires or rugged werewolves. This does have a bit of a Twilight Zone vibe to it but more the episodes dealing with human dilemmas than aliens writing books on cooking man. Lanagan is a major wordsmith and that's where the magic lies in each of these ten tales. It is daring writing based on the conventions of classic storytelling but the thrill is you never know when her words will veer in an obtuse direction. This is a collection of adult fairy tales for the young literati amongst you (make sure to swipe the copy when they're done.)

(Tor Teen)
The Rithmatist -  Brandon Sanderson, illus. by Ben McSweeney
(INDEPENDENT READER) You will be hard pressed to find a more imaginative novel for the teen set. Joel is chosen to be a rithmatist,the few given the power to infuse two-dimentional objects with life.The resulting creatures are called Chalkings. Stay with me. These animated beings grow in the wild as well which is why the world needs the rithatists. They aere violent and wild things that seem to be attacking the students in Joel’s magic class. Joel and his friend help a professor solve the puzzle of the slaughtered students in this book filled with disturbing, surreal nightmare imagery.

(Little, Brown)
Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Adventure - Pseudonymous Bosch
(INDEPENDENT READER)  Save for Lemony Snicket there is no one more nefarious in childrens literature than Pseudonymous Bosch. The big mystery this time is the mysterious disappearance of the author of this book. The readers must take the helm or the future of the original author will be in jeopardy. The reader won’t have to do it alone, Bosch gives them instructions and clues to completing an awesome mystery novel. Even the uncompleted novel is a fine mystery and whatever the reader comes up with just makes it richer. Bosch makes writing a game not a chore which when the writing is flowing it should be. (look for interactive literacy troupe The Story Pirates promoting this title in your area!)

It's a Firefly Night  - Dianne Ochiltree, illus. Betsy Snyder
(CHILDRENS) Father’s Day is just around the corner and this is one great book for dad’s to bond with their young daughters and read aloud. A girl captures fireflies in a jar, 10 total in lyrical verse that your own child will sing long with in no time. It’s a storybook and a counting book, even has you learn a thing or two about butterflies. Sweet way to learn. After a  reading I smiled when a child told me, “I know everything about butterflies.” Let me count the ways.

I Scream, Ice Cream! A Book of Wordles - Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. Serge Bloch
(CHILDREN) Wordles? There are words or phrases that sound the same and this author loves her wordplay so as quick as you can say, “Aye! Sea!” (Icy) like a pirate we are off on a cavalcade of phrases, some forced, but all worthy of a chuckle. The whimsy of the illustration adds to the wacky nature of this silly collection. It might become a favorite of your young’ns making reading it a family affair (a family of hair) Why not a family of hare? Tee hee! I think that's very bunny!

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