Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Best Book Bets - 5/28/13

14 more red hot best bet picks (hot off the press, not off the grill
Next week will be the Bookie's 1 year anniversary!
(that's a lot of recommended books)
We have a SEARCH BAR on the home page to play with and genre tabs to come shortly. Have fun, read, and as Vonnegut told a graduating class, "Use sunscreen."

The Son  -  Philipp Meyer   
(FICTION/CLOTH) I remember seeing Polanski's film Tess and thinking, 'I didn't think you could make movies like this anymore.' I get the same feeling when it comes to novel writing when I read this author. A still young author who's credits already include the lauded American Rust, Meyer has the unique gift of presenting multi-generational horse operas on an epic scale. It has the political scope of John Ford's The Searchers and the homespun attention to character of McMurtry. A young teen has has his mom and sis slaughtered by the Comanche who end up raising him as their own. The end result is an introspective Rambo trying to find his place in the world. Its "Texas, the Mini-series" meets Little Big Man. Enough cultural references yet? Think of this novel as a welcome addition to the canon of great American fiction.

(McSweeney's McMullens)
Mermaid in Chelsea Creek  - Michelle Tea, illus.  Jason Polan 
(FICTION/CLOTH) A literary fairy tale for adults? I'm in. Sophie is a teenage outcast, what with her wild hair and dingy clothes. Plus she tells a tale of a swearing mermaid that lives beneath the streets of Chelsea, MA. Could this loser of a girl and her mythic being breath some magic into the eyesore of a town. Maybe she is just the thing they need to believe in. A lyrical tale that is a joy to read, atmospheric and constantly weaving a spell of its own as she gives us a girl and a dream to believe in. The novel is given the classy treatment you'd expect from Egger's McSweeneys Press; embossed cover, evocative illustrations and pages you just want to hug.

Good Kings Bad Kings  - Susan Nussbaum

(FICTION/CLOTH) This debut won the PEN/Bellwether prize and once you are thrown into these characters world you immediately know why. A myriad of voices gives us a candid look into the difficult world of juveniles with disabilities and the people who try to care for them. One caretaker Joanne has just come on board and empathizes with each individual. She soon learns that it is each of the teens who lend support to each other that will ultimately elevate their lives. There is Yessenia dreams of the date that will allow her to live independently, Teddy who finds his normalcy in dressing to the nines every day, to the secretive Mia. A disturbing and enlightening novel that gives the general public a glimpse into a world unknown to them unless touched directly by these exceptional people.

Archipelago -  Monique Roffey  
(FICTION/CLOTH) This author is a previous Orange Award winner which tells you two things, there will be a religious theme running through the novel and it is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings. Unbridled water has wreck havoc in Gavin's world. A flood took his house. When he returned to Trinidad to rebuild the threat of the rainy season is too much for his daughter to bear. Instead of retreating far away from the clutches of this seemingly malevolent expression of nature Gavin, his daughter, and their trusty dog embark sail from their Caribbean home through the archipelagos to confront the ocean in all its power and grandeur.
You Are One of Them  Elliott Holt
(FICTION/CLOTH)  This is a wild story about the extents we will go to keep that which is deemed important in our lives. Sarah's best friend, Jenny, has had her letter chosen to be sent to Yuri Andropov asking for an end to the Cold War. She is set to travel to the USSR to present it the plane flying her and her family their crashes. Now Sarah is prepared to graduate college the loss of her friend still burns. A letter arrives from the former Soviet Union that implies that Jenny's tragedy may have been a hoax. She needs to learn the truth and travels to the USSR to discover it and perhaps the most important relationship in her life. Politics are like our own minds, deception upon deception before one gets to the truth of the matter.

(Penguin/Pamela Dorman)
Looking For Me - Beth Hoffman
(FICTION/CLOTH) Sometimes you just need a feel-good, summer read. If that's the case there are few that dole them out better than Hoffman. She has knack at fleshing out unique characters you give a hoot about, all with a good ol' southern drawl. Teddi has a gift for taking people's thrown-away furniture and breathing new life into them, restoring them to their former glory. The people who frequent her shop are as unique as the pieces she restores.Once she learns that her long lost brother Josh may be alive Teddi needs to return home and do an overhaul of her own life to reclaim what was once beautiful in her family. A comfortable metaphor and a good yarn, sure to make fans of Trigiani and Flagg smile.

Ooo La La: Frech Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day - Jamie Cat Callen 
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH) This Queen of all that is divine is just what we need in trying times when we tend to forget that a little pampering does a lot to illuminate the soul. She has already taught us to say "Bonjour" to happiness and has reminded us that French Girls do not sleep alone. Now she lets us in on the biggest secret yet, French women are not more beautiful than any other country's, they are just raised to have their beauty shine. Its not in their genes but in how they feel when they put their jeans on! This is more than a makeover book, its about the attitude adjustment of her readers. Sure perfume, style, makeup, lingerie (I think that's what puts the Ooh in the La La) is all covered as if she's your inner French girl's consultant, but its when she implors us all to embrace the beauty all around you, surrounding yourself with it, and having it reflect your personal beauty that she brings it home.As Cole Porter would say, her teachings are 'C'est Maginifique!"

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight -  M.E. Thomas
(NON-FICTION/CLOTH)  Last year there was the book that was essentially a test to see if you were one. Now we have a disturbingly candid memoir of someone who aced the test. Take Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth and combine her with Dexter's sister and you have a juggernaut of calculated deception and manipulation. This book is an extension of her blog, Sociopathworld.com and further elaborates on her confessions on just how calculated all her interactions with people are. Even though she doesn't have a violent component to her condition her actions and lack of interest in the consequence of them cuts like a knife. Perhaps after reading this you may be better prepared to contend with the sociopath in your life but I doubt it. They seem too dang ruthless and smart.

Invisibility  -  Andres Cremer, David Levithan
(YOUNG ADULT)  Don't you hate it when your granddad, you know, the one who is a cursecaster, makes you invisible and you have to spend the brunt of your childhood in that condition? Stephen certainly does and it it isn't until a girl named Elizabeth walks into his life and, get this, can see him, that the chance at a real life can begin. They say that love can conquer all but does that apply to battling people like his gramps and the spellseekers, people who want that magic for their own? Only a budding romance and life-threatening altercations can tell.

(Simon Pulse)
How My Summer Went Up In Flames - Jennifer Sakvato Doktorski
(YOUNG ADULT) Rosie doesn't take rejection well. Just ask her ex who's car she torched. Despite the restraining order slapped on her, her attempts at reconciliation being viewed as stalking, and the fact that as each day of her Summer vacation passes she feels less and less in control of her sanity. To keep her away from continuing to harass her former boyfriend her parents implement a family road trip. Rosie wants no part of it, even fabricates a scheme of running away and hitchhiking home to win back her boy. Its a long summer and a new romance might just wait just past the next bend.

Doll Bones -  Holly Black, illus. by Eliza Wheeler
(INDEPENDENT READER) First, aren't the names Zach, Poppy and Alice perfect for a fantasy tale? That said we have one unnerving tale that has all the creepiness of Gaiman's Coraline. Kids love playing with toys, building a world they have control over. One day Zach's Dad throws away all the children's toys. Its time to grow up and stop playing with dolls. The children will have none of this. The two girls come to visit him to help him with a "doll" adventure worthy of an older boy. Seems they are being haunted by the spirit of a dead girl who's bones had been ground up to make the china doll. They must find the girl's home, its mystery, and bury the doll or the are all cursed to be haunted... forever. How's that for spooky?

(Drawn & Quarterly)
Marble Season - Gilbert Hernandez
(INDEPENDENT READER) Love and Rockets broke the ground as the first bestselling graphic novels with an autobiographical voice. Here with Marble Season Gilbert takes the coming-of-age stories of all the Hernandez brothers and shares with us the trial and tribulations of growing up in California in the'60s. Its a postmodern glimpse, keenly aware of the pop icons of the day. There are children's games that grow old, bullies who grow ornery, and teens who refuse to grow up. It is a celebration of story-telling and the power of the imagination to help us through the mini-dramas of life. Another benchmark achievement in graphic novels.

(FYI FOR INDEPENDENT READERS: Rick Riordan's The Kane Chronicles, Book Three: The Serpent's Shadow is now in trade paperback with a previously unpublished short story added!)
(Random House for YR)
When Mermaids Sleep  - Ann Bonwill, illus. Steve Johnson, Lou Fancher
(CHILDRENS  You can never have too many effective goodnight-sleep tight books in your arsenal. The Bookie has a soft spot for the sea so caught, hook, line, and sinker. This beautifully illustrated book coos of sleeping mermaids and snoring pirates, fairies, and sleepy girls. The award-winning artists will be heavy favorites again this year and the words are delicate and soothing, as sleep inducing as the lapping waves.

Octopus Alone  -  Divya Srinivasan
(CHILDREN) You wouldn't think an octopus couldnd be cuddly cute but leave it to Srinivasen's delcate strokes of pen to create quite a lovely creature. She sees her under the wave world from the safe confines of her cave; fish, turtles, seahorse, all playing. She wants more quiet and searches for another cave, one far more desolate. Once achieved the little octopus learns something quite special, even though she likes to be alone, she like to be with friends more. Srinivasan tale is both soothing and understated in presentation and message.

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