Friday, December 28, 2012
The Top Ten in Fiction
The winner with mention on 8 lists
#1 - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
3 titles won mention on 7 lists
#2 - This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
#3 - Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
#4 - The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
4 titles won mention on 6 lists
#5 - Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
#6 - A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
#7 - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
#8 - Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
2 titles were mentioned on 5 lists
#9 - The Round House by Louise Erdrich
#10 - Dear Life by Alice Munro
The overall winner with mention on 9 different lists
#1 - Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
1 title was mentioned on 7 lists
#2 - Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum
1 title was mentioned on 6 lists
#3 - The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro
2 titles were mentioned on 5 lists
#4 - Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon
#5 - Wild by Cheryl Strayed
5 titles were mentioned on 4 lists
#6 - Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
#7 - Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
#8 - People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
#9 - Spillover by David Quammen
#10 - House of Stone by Anthony Shadid
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Ian Rankin comes out with Standing in Another Man's Grave on January 15th. It is a thriller that features a decade old string of disappearing teens.
Brad Taylor gives us Enemy of Mine on January 15th. Another thriller featuring Delta Force officer Pike Logan.
Stuart Wood's next Stone Barrington title, Collateral Damage, is out on January 8th. It you read Woods, you kind of know the plot already.
Dave Barry offers another humorous view of the problems existing in Florida (i.e. riots; Russian gangsters; pimps; and a huge snake) in Insane City on January 29th. You can't help but laugh but you wonder why he lives there.
Susanna Sonnenberg investigates the power of female friendships and relationships in She Matters which comes out on January 8th. Reported as a mesmerizing works.
Some of you may had read Adam Mansbach hysterical Go the F**k to Sleep. I did and having had 2 children, I laughed and laughed. On January 10th, he is publishing Rage is Back. The story of the son of a renowned graffiti writer is said to be have a refreshing edginess.
Tracy Chevalier takes her historical fiction to the United States in The Last Runaway which comes out on January 8th.
For all you Downton Abbey fans out there, Elizabeth Wilhide offers historical fiction in Ashenden on January 8th. A tale of two and a half centuries in a Victorian manor house.
Enjoy planning your reading plan for next month and have a really good Holiday.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
6. Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth - McEwan wrote ‘Atonement’, a really well received novel, this one is just as good. A young, female Cambridge graduate is recruited to work with the British intelligence service. It brings up some ethical questions for her.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
In an intricately plotted debut novel, Jenny Milchman gives us Cover of Snow on January 15th. Nora Hamilton, happily married to a solid, dependable policeman, lives in the Adirondacks. Life is good until her husband commits suicide and then secrets start to come to the fore. Fast moving with lots of good reviews, if you like to take a chance on first authors, give Milchman a try.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer - one word description - espionage
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - straight literary novel of a long lost love.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain - coming of age; Iraq War; Dallas Cowboys - combined in one book.
Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie - short stories by a superb short story author about the current day plight of Native Americans.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - second in the series of Thomas Cromwell's England
Canada by Richard Ford - coming of age and innocence lost.
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw - how a devastating drunken accident affects the lives of a group of friends.
Dear Life by Alice Munro - short stories about an ordinary life.
Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison - Rasputin's daughter and Prince Alyosha dream up a world that will never be.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - Applachia environment - climate change is the focus in novel format.
Fobbit by David Abrams - More on the Iraqi War with satire as the format - think M*A*S*H* and Catch 22.
Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden - Money, Mississippi and Emmett Till. Historical realism with some magic thrown in.
HHhH by Laurent Binet - Prague - 1942 - the Gestapo and two men assigned to kill it's head, Reinhard Heydrich.
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers - a struggling salesman trying to pay his duaghter's college tuition in a Saudi Arabian city.
Home by Toni Morrison - a Korean War veteran is forced to return to his hometown, a small town in Georgia.
In One Person by John Irving - a story of unfulfilled love and trying to make yourself whole featuring a bisexual.
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash - the love between two brothers, one of whom is mute.
NW by Zadie Smith - a look at London through the eyes of 4 neighbors.
Pure by Julianna Baggott -a wide range of opinions on this dystopian novel that is not for YAs.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich - a tale of injustice in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - a story of rural poverty and motherless children that help each other survive.
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer - A woman born without hair; her astronaut husband with Ausberger Sydrome and an autistic child and THEN the trouble starts.
The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont - a coming of age story that is filled with melancholy. A young rebellious prep school student with a desire to sail.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - a young, beautiful, female Cambridge graduate is recruited into the British Intelligence Service.
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy - short listed for the Booker prize but beaten by Bring Up the Bodies, a book of 4 dysfunctional tourists on the French Riviera and another depressed acquaintence.
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon - a used record store in Oakland, CA run by two friends; a major new music store threatening to move in down the block; a midwivery service run byt he friends wifves which is threaten with legal proceeding on an at home birth gone bad - sounds depressing but Chabon writes with humor.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin - gives Mary a voice but she present a very different picture.
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz - stories of love, longing and the weakness of the human heart.
Watergate by Thomas Mallon - a retelling of the Watergae scandal in novel format.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers - Once again the Iraqi War and a story of what war does to young men.
How many of these have you read? I've only read about 10 of the 30 I have listed. All are available from the library. Take a look at a few.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
This is just a taste of what is coming in the next 2 months. More next time.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. I've spoken of this title before and reviewers seem to put it in the running for book of the year. This first time authror's poignant story of 2 young soldiers in Iraq has been said to be "compact and powerful as a footlocker full of ammo." The LA Times has said it "might just be the first American literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war, even if an imperfect one. It is, without a doubt, a powerful and disturbing statement about the brutality of that conflict, and of the deep wounds inflicted on thousands of our citizen-soldiers."
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I've spoken of this one too. I loved this book! A fascinating psychological suspense title about a troubled marriage and how people may not be who you think they are. I've recommended this book to lots of people. If you haven't read it ---do so.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Another book about the Iraq War but this one is set during the Bush administration. This title follows Bravo troop whose skirmish was caught on Fox News making them all heroes. The novel takes place in one day whine the troop is honored at a football game in Dallas Stadium. Huffington Post says "Fountain has written a funny novel that provides skewering critiques of America's obsession with sports, spectacle, and war, but ultimately this is a book about a very young man who has to decide why he fights and if he will continue to do so."
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. The New York Times says that Boo is "one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama. She makes it very easy to forget that this book is the work of a reporter."
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. The San Francisco Chronicle says this is an "extraordinary work of timely and provocative themes, including the decline of American manufacturing, the sufferings of the middle class and the collapse of the global economy." It centers on Alan Clay, an out of work salesman, who is trying to land a gigantic IT contract in Saudi Arabia. While waiting for an audience with King Abdullah, he wiles away his time feeling lonely, depressed and superfluous.
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg. the story of a dangerously overweight woman and the relatives who are trying, in various ineffectual ways, to save her life when “everything about her was collapsing.” The Book Reporter says ""With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession."
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. This is a collection of essays written during the last 19 months of Hitchen's life. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010 and died in December of 2011. The New Statesmen says "Wit, irony, the consolations of philosophy – these are the reserves we draw on when medicine can do no more. And rarely were they more formidably deployed than by Hitchens." In other words, while definitely written about a depressing subject, this book is not depressing.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel is a 16 year old girl with stage IV thyroid cancer, and has been living with an oxygen tank since she was first diagnosed at 12. She realizes she is going to die, but she is on a drug that is keeping the tumors at bay. At a support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters, who is in remission. They immediately hit it off and change each others lives drastically. This is a teen book that will make you laugh and cry - and realize that not all endings are happy.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Who doesn't like to laugh? Anyone out there? Those who do like to laugh, are probably already on the list for Janet Evanovich's Notorious Nineteen which comes out on November 20. If you are on the list and while you are waiting, you might want to try one of these humorous mysteries. OK - I admit it. I like a little humor in my mysteries. Two of the authors I am going to recommend are among my favorites.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
David Baldacci comes out with The Forgotten on November 20 and James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge give us Merry Christmas, Alex Cross on November 12. Most people who like those two authors, are already waiting for the title. If you are on the list for it or if you want to read something while you are waiting, I have a few suggestions. These authors are what I call on the B list. They aren't quite as popular but in many cases, perhaps they should be. In fact, one of the ones I am going to suggest, is my favorite author. So....if you are looking for suggestions try one or two of the ones below.
Stephen J. Cannell (now deceased) wrote character driven, fast-paced, suspenseful stories. His most recentt, Vigilante, came out in Dec of 2011. It is part of his series featuring LAPD detective Shane Scully. This story about the death of a political activist who frequently filed law suits against the police department hurtles toward its climax. It is well plotted and smartly paced.
Harlan Coben (my favorite) is gaining popularity with each title. He writes fast paced, compelling suspense stories. His latest, Stay Close, came out in March of 2012. Three people--a suburban housewife, a talented documentary photographer, and a detective--living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past doesn't recede I think the reason I like Coben so much is that he write with wit and irony and he keeps you on edge for the whole book. Really an author that is hard to put down once you start.
Ridley Pearson is another author who specializes in fast-paced, plot-driven mysteries. You might want to start reading him at the first in his Walt Fleming series, Killer Weekend. 8 years after saving the life of a U.S. attorney general, Fleming is the county sheriff in Sun Valley, Idaho. He finds himself once again protecting the high-profile politician, now a presidential hopeful, during a billionaire's communications conference.
Phillip Margolin is a retired attorney. His titles though are a far distance from Grisham's. Margolin's are plot driven and fast paced. His most recent is Capitol Murder which just came out in April of 2012. It is the third in his Dana Cutler and Brad Miller series. Dana is the private detective and Brad Miller an attorney and they are brought back together when a convicted serial killer they put away, escapes. This author is for those who are really focused on plot and may overlook standard characterizations.
Finally, Robert Crais writes hardboiled mystery in his Elvis Cole series. He develops engaging plots and well-developed characters with a clean, terse style. There is humor in these titles also. His latest, Taken, came out in January of 2012. The daughter of a wealthy businesswomen and the daughter's boyfriend are kidnapped. The mother hires Cole and Joe Pike to determine if it is a fake kidnapping. Cole finds that they have in fact been kidnapped by professional border thieves but in the process gets himself taken also. Pike is left to rescue all three.
Hopefully, you will find something you like in one of these authors. Enjoy!
Monday, October 15, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Now - on to mysteries coming out in November. Quite a change of topics I know. I've been out of touch now for almost 2 weeks so I have lots of books to discuss in a limited number of weeks. I thought I would try to get the mysteries out there first.
Superintendent John Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook, a new one, More Than Meets The Eye, comes out on November 1. Dennis Cooper has a dream job as a full-time resident National Trust curators of the spectacular Westbourne Gardens, which receives thousands of visitors each year. It may seem perfect but secrets flow in the background and foul play is the result.Lambert and Hook try to discover the cause.