Some Luck is Jane Smiley’s first novel of a planned trilogy that when fully realized will follow an Iowa farm family from 1920 to 2020.  This first, to be published in October, reaches the early 1950’s.  As the earliest it also features rich historical detail and atmospherics.  The old dark humor joke about the farmer who has an incredible windfall and plans to “just keep farming till the money’s gone” is probably anachronistic (I’m thinking it’s from the 1980’s and referred to the lottery), but a fun example of how in touch Smiley is with her characters and their concerns and hopes.

This queue is already building.  Comment to claim.  Note: I can only give these to Sno-Isle employees – apologies.

 

Some Luck

Publisher Summary: From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize : a powerful, engrossing new novel–the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father’s heart. Each chapter in Some Luck covers a single year, beginning in 1920, as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early 1950s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, the personal and the historical merge seamlessly: one moment electricity is just beginning to power the farm, and the next a son is volunteering to fight the Nazis; later still, a girl you’d seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears. Some Luck delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction. Taking us through cycles of births and deaths, passions and betrayals, among characters we come to know inside and out, it is a tour de force that stands wholly on its own. But it is also the first part of a dazzling epic trilogy–a literary adventure that will span a century in America: an astonishing feat of storytelling by a beloved writer at the height of her powers.

Hugos Announced

August 25, 2014

The official list for all categories is here.

The Winner for Best Novel 

Ancillary justice

Leckie, Ann.  Ancillary Justice.

Winner of the Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, nominated for the Hugo and Philip K. Dick Awards. On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

 

 

 

 

Other Nominees for Best Novel 

Neptune's brood : a space opera

Stross, Charles. Neptune’s Brood.

The year is AD 7000. The human species is extinct for the fourth time due to its fragile nature. nbsp; Krina Alizond-114 is metahuman, descended from the robots that once served humanity. She’s on a journey to the water-world of Shin-Tethys to find her sister Ana. But her trip is interrupted when pirates capture her ship. Their leader, the enigmatic Count Rudi, suspects that there’s more to Krina’s search than meets the eye. He’s correct: Krina and Ana each possess half of the fabled Atlantis Carnet, a lost financial instrument of unbelievable value capable of bringing down entire civilizations. Krina doesn’t know that Count Rudi suspects her motives, so she accepts his offer to get her to Shin-Tethys in exchange for an introduction to Ana. nbsp; And what neither of them suspects is that a ruthless body-double assassin has stalked Krina across the galaxy, ready to take the Carnet once it is whole and leave no witnesses alive to tell the tale.

 

 

 

Parasite

Grant, Mira. Parasite.

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite — a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system — even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.

 

 

 

 

Robert Jordan's The wheel of time. Volume one, The eye of the world

Jordan, Robert and Brandon Sanderson.   The Wheel of Time (Series).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correia, LWarboundarry. Warbound.

New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. Gritty urban fantasy set in an alternate noir 1930s. A tough P.I. battles an interdimensional monster that wants to suck magic power out of the world. Sequel to Hard Magic and Spellbound. Book Three in the Grimnoir Chronicles. Gritty urban fantasy adventure set in an alternate noir 1930s, Book Three in the Grimnoir chronicles. Only a handful of people in the world know that mankind’s magic comes from a living creature, and it is a refugee from another universe. The Power showed up here in the 1850s because it was running from something. Now it is 1933, and the Power’s hiding place has been discovered by a killer. It is a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. Earth is next. Former private eye, Jake Sullivan, knows the score. The problem is hardly anyone believes him. The world’s most capable Active, Faye Vierra, could back him up, but she is hiding from the forces that think she is too dangerous to let live. So Jake has put together a ragtag crew of airship pirates and Grimnoir knights, and set out on a suicide mission to stop the predator before it is too late. About the Urban Fantasy of Larry Correia: “[A] no-holds-barred all-out page turner that is part science fiction, part horror, and an absolute blast to read.”- Bookreporter.com “If you love monsters and action, you’ll love this book. If you love guns, you’ll love this book. If you love fantasy, and especially horror fantasy, you’ll love this book.”- Knotclan.com “A gun person who likes science fiction-or, heck, anyone who likes science fiction-will enjoy [these books]…The plotting is excellent, and Correia makes you care about the characters…I read both books without putting them down except for work…so whaddaya waitin’ for? Go and buy some…for yourself and for stocking stuffers.”-Massad Ayoob “This lighthearted, testosterone-soaked sequel to 2009’s Monster Hunter International will delight fans of action horror with elaborate weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, disgusting monsters, and an endless stream of blood and body parts.”- Publishers Weekly on Monster Hunter Vendetta

 

September LibraryReads Out

August 11, 2014

This batch has interesting choices and annotations with helpful insight on reader appeal.  (I do still have a Station Eleven ARC, btw, if this piques interest).  In print we have all on order or soon will (Horrorstör), and we’ll get several in audiobook as well.

The Favorite 

Most peopleSmoke gets in your eyes : and other lessons from the crematory want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty–a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre–took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?  Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

 

 

 

 

Station eleven : a novel  The secret place  Rooms  The Children Act  The Distance : A Thriller  Product DetailsThe witch with no name  The paying guests

This is the latest by Australian novelist Flanagan, right now considered one of if not their best.  His latest The Narrow Road to the Deep North, has just been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.  This is the first year the longlist includes, controversially, four Americans as well. The winner’s announcement should be interesting.  Narrow Road is being published next week and already has 12 holds. The title derives from a haiku by Basho and is related to the book’s themes rather than location. Would someone care for the ARC?

 

“A novel of lovThe narrow road to the deep north : a novele and war that traces the life of one man–an Australian surgeon–from a prisoner-of-war camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway during World War II, up to the present”– Provided by publisher.

Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings. Until he receives a letter that will change him forever. Moving deftly from the POW camp to contemporary Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo and his comrades to those of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of love, death, and family, exploring the many forms of good and evil, war and truth, guilt and transcendence, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost. [Summary]

Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good comes out September 2 and seems like the perfect gentle read for the dog days. Anyone interested?

 

 

“A pSomewhere safe with somebody good : the new Mitford novelublishing event: #1 New York Times-bestselling author Jan Karon returns-and invites her millions of fans to join her again in Mitford. After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, froma so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors. While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion. His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion-for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business. All this as Wanda’s Feel Good Cafe; opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own? Millions of fans will applaud the chance to spend time, once more, in the often comic and utterly human presence of Jan Karon’s characters. Indeed, they have never been more sympathetic, bighearted, and engaging. “– Provided by publisher.

 

Surely these will be claimed lickety split? World of Trouble is the third of a series called Last Policeman, endorsed by Nancy Pearl.  Bones Never Lie comes out Sept 23rd.  If you feel so brash as to claim more than one at a time, I have no problem with that.

 

Bones never lie  : a novel / Kathy Reichs.

 

…In the acclaimed author’s thrilling new novel, Brennan is at the top of her game in a battle of wits against the most monstrous adversary she has ever encountered. Unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit, Dr. Temperance Brennan wonders why she’s been asked to meet with a homicide cop who’s a long way from his own jurisdiction. The shocking answer: Two child murders, separated by thousands of miles, have one thing in common–the killer. Years ago, Anique Pomerleau kidnapped and murdered a string of girls in Canada, then narrowly eluded capture. It was a devastating defeat for her pursuers, Brennan and police detective Andrew Ryan. Now, as if summoned from their nightmares, Pomerleau has resurfaced in the United States, linked to victims in Vermont and North Carolina. When another child is snatched, the reign of terror promises to continue–unless Brennan can rise to the challenge and make good on her second chance to stop a psychopath.  But Brennan will have to draw her bitter ex-partner out of exile, keep the local police and feds from one another’s throats, and face more than just her own demons as she stalks the deadliest of predators into the darkest depths of madness…

 

 

Cop town : a novel

 

“Atlanta, 1974. It’s Kate Murphy’s first day on the job and the Atlanta Police Department is seething after the murder of an officer. Before the day has barely begun, she already suspects she’s not cut out for the job as a cop. Her male uniform is too big, she can’t handle a gun, and she’s rapidly learning that the APD is hardly a place that welcomes women. Worse still, in the ensuing manhunt, he’ll be partnered with Maggie Lawson, a cop with her own ax to grind (and a brother and uncle already on the force)–a strategy meant to isolate Kate and Maggie from the action. But the move will backfire, putting them right at the heart of it”

 

 

 

World of TroubleCritically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series. With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative–his sister Nico–isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out . . . for everyone.

A university student from a troubled family of modest means thinks she’s going to spend an easy summer at her rich roommate’s family estate in Vermont…but no.  Full of disturbing secrets and suspense, this one already has a building queue.  Who’d like to have the arc?

Beverly-Whittemore, Miranda.  Bittersweet. Crown, 2014.

Bittersweet : a novel

On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, Mabel Dagmar is befriended by her roommate, the blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Invited to spend the summer at Bittersweet, a cottage on a Vermont estate, Mabel falls in love with the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Soon she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and the sense that she belongs. When a discovery leads to violence and reveals how the Winslows keep their power intact, Mabel must either expose them and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make this world her own.

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