Wednesday, December 08, 2004

New Book Roundup: April/May 2004

Got way behind in reading Publishers Weekly this year. I'm making it a resolution in 2005 to read it every week and post more regularly about the books that grab my eye. These are (quite belatedly) the highlights of the April and May 2004 issues:


An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain by Diane Ackerman
Ackerman takes on the brain...and I still haven't found time for her earlier classics yet!

Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende
"Brende conceives a real-life experiment: to see if, in fact, all our cell phones, wide-screen TVs, and SUVs have made life easier and better -- or whether life would be preferable without them."

Wolves & Honey: A Hidden History of the Natural World by Susan Brind Morrow
The glut of memoirs makes me sick, but this one sounded good.

Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs
"Jacobs [author of the influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities]sees 'ominous signs of decay' in five 'pillars' of our culture: family, community, higher education, science and 'self policing by the learned professions.'"

Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds Of America by William Souder
Lots of Audubon books this year. For some reason he interests me. I'm on the look-out for the bio that will pull me in. This might be it.

Welcome to the Lizard Motel: Stories in the Lives of Children and Why the Right Ones Matter by Barbara Feinberg
From the PW review:"When her son's seventh-grade teacher said a 'good book should make you cry,' Feinberg started to wonder. After she noticed her son's reluctance to read school-assigned novels-Newbery Award-winning books like Creech's Walk Two Moons or Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia-she read them herself and discovered the 'problem novel,' a 'subgenre of the realistic adolescent novel,' which often features a youngster facing horrible difficulties-incest, domestic abuse, rape, death or disease of parents, etc.-without the aid of any sympathetic adult, without 'recourse to fantasy.' Educators push these parables, Feinberg says, believing children need to abandon fantasy and learn to 'cope' with reality." Wow!! It's about time someone raised these issues.

In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe-A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev
Well, you can see why it grabbed my eye.

Short Story Collections

Alone with the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction of Ramsey Campbell, 1961-1991 by Ramsey Campbell
"Ramsey Campbell is perhaps the world's most decorated author of horror fiction." Never heard of him, but the writing sounds good.

The Smallest People Alive by Keith Banner
From PW's review: "Banner's first collection...sears and surprises. His stories, mainly set in Ohio and Tennessee, read like small revelations, perhaps because they focus on people usually ignored in gay fiction-rural, low-income, overweight, largely uneducated folks with dead-end or thankless jobs...."

Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale
"[A]n eclectic array of yarns, some old, some new, most containing elements of fantasy."


Little Scarlet: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley
An Easy story set near the Watts riots of '65.

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham
Time-travel story exchanging troops between 2021 and 1942. Sounds cool.

The Queen of the South by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
A literary thriller that takes "a frightening, fascinating look at the international business of transporting cocaine and hashish."

How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland
A "cool, accomplished first novel" about "Louise Connor, a brainy, difficult 16-year-old from Sydney, Australia, [who] travels to Chicago as a foreign exchange student...[and] wants more than just friendship from her wealthy suburban host family. "

Raymond and Hannah by Stephen Marche
This novel caught my eye but now I don't remember why.

Unfinished Season by Ward S. Just
A major writer, slim novel, Chicago setting, great reviews all around.

Absolution Gap (Revelation Space Series #3) by Alastair Reynolds
The review grabbed me: "The world Hela, an airless moon of the gas giant Haldora, is remarkable for two things: relics of the extinct alien race called the scuttlers, and the Quaicheist faith, whose observers (aided by infection with a virus that induces religious fervor) watch Haldora in the hope of viewing one of its mysterious, split-second disappearances."



Post a Comment

<< Home