Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Week's Books

After seeing the movie this past weekend (post coming soon), I was very excited to see this come into my library…

Snowpiercer is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four). Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.

In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.

The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled…

This book put the double whammy on me - a simple, but lovely cover and then - BOOM - an intriguing story.

“An amazing feat of imagination.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Invisible Beasts is a strange and beautiful meditation on love and seeing, a hybrid of fantasy and field guide, novel and essay, treatise and fable. With one hand it offers a sad commentary on environmental degradation, while with the other it presents a bright, whimsical, and funny exploration of what it means to be human. It’s wonderfully written, crazily imagined, and absolutely original.” —ANTHONY DOERR, author of All the Light We Cannot See and The Shell Collector

Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages — an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica — illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.

If you've been keeping up with the Amazon/Hachette debacle, this is the book that Stephen Colbert told everyone to go buy.

"In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." —-Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

I'm trying hard not to discount this book: it's in the Mystery genre, and that's what tends to happen with me and Mysteries - I see the genre sticker and go, "Meh." (Also, the third book in the trilogy just came out too.)

Set three months before the deadly asteroid 2011GV1 is due to hit Earth, this Last Policeman sequel chronicles the further adventures of Hank Palace. The Concord Police Department is now operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, and Hank is out of a job — until he’s hired by a business tycoon to help find the man’s estranged son. Hank’s search leads him to a visibly collapsing East Coast landscape where anti-immigrant militia patrol the shores, fending off droves of people fleeing the “impact zone” of the asteroid.

And it isn’t long before Hank’s missing-person case turns into a murder investigation. But the Last Policeman sequel asks questions well beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

To see more is to find oblivion…

Screenwriter Tommy Pic fell hard from Hollywood success and landed in a psychiatric ward, blacked out from booze and unmedicated manic depression. This is not the first time he's come to in restraints, surrounded by friends and family who aren't there.

This time, though, he also awakes to a message from his agent. The first act of his latest screenplay is their ticket back to the red carpets.

If only Tommy could remember writing it. Trying to recapture the hallucinations that crafted his masterpiece, he chases his kidnapped childhood love, a witch from the magic shop downstairs, and the Komodo dragon he tried to cut out of his gut one Christmas Eve. The path to professional redemption may be more dangerous than the fall.

…This is what makes you die.

All I really know about this book is that it's a "GROUNDBREAKING THRILLER"…and there's a blurb from Joss Whedon on the cover…

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

I tried to read Baricco's Silk. I should probably try again.

After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects — among them Gwyn’s devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; a landscape painter; Gwyn’s own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old.

Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant—and the portraits. As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn’s whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime’s worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.

With the recent discovery of Richard III's remains, a newly-revised edition of the celebrated biography of England's most notorious king.

With the victory of Henry Tudor, the usurping dynasty made an effort to besmirch the last Plantagenet’s reputation, and some historians claim that Richard’s "black legend" is nothing more than political propaganda. Yet such an interpretation, as Desmond Seward shows in this powerfully-argued book, suggests a refusal to face the facts of history. Even in the king’s lifetime there were rumors about his involvement in the murders of Henry VI and of his nephews, the "Princes in the Tower," while his reign was considered by many to be a nightmare, not least for the king himself. The real Richard III was both a chilling and compelling monarch, a peculiarly grim young English precursor of Machiavelli’s Prince. Sweeping aside sentimental fantasy, this is a colorful, authoritative biography that offers a definitive picture of both the age and the man.

1 comment:

Will said...

Let me recommend The King's Grave by
Philippa Langley and Michael Jones. It's an account of the discovery of Richard's (semi)final resting place under an urban car park but also a very even-handed analysis of his reign and the central question, did he or didn't he murder his nephews? I think you'd enjoy it very much.

Will