August 9, 2016
This comes out next month and is a follow-up to Bad Monkey. Comment to claim.
The new full-tilt, unstoppably hilarious and entertaining novel from the best-selling author of Skinny Dip and Bad Monkey. When Lane Coolman’s car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield–the eponymous Razor Girl–and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There’s Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys–a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another . . . Dominick “Big Noogie” Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear . . . Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren . . . a street psycho known as Blister who’s more Buck Nance than Buck could ever be . . . Brock Richardson, a Miami product-liability lawyer who’s getting dangerously–and deformingly–hooked on the very E.D. product he’s litigating against . . . and Andrew Yancy–formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover’s husband with a Dust Buster. Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he’ll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy’s future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way–including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections.
August 8, 2016
Nancy’s designated a new spot to place up-for-grabs ARCs, the top of the file cabinets right by the break room in the hub of the Service Center. Feel free to peruse and take when you are here and have a moment, with the understanding they will not be sold (of course) or returned. There are several there now with current or near future holds queues. Enjoy and disperse. Thank you!
August 1, 2016
This has close to 80 holds. If you didn’t get a great spot on the queue, I have 2 ARCs. Comment to claim.
Publisher Summary: A pair of sisters find themselves at a crossroads in this dazzling new novel from the author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only . First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart–wherever that may lead. Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single–and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother–a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands. On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew–and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.
July 25, 2016
How exciting that another former Sno-Isle employee has published a book. Marin Younker’s Bleed, Blister, Puke and Purge: The Dirty Secrets Behind Early American Medicine comes out October 25th from Zest Books. Lorraine has ordered copies (it’s juvenile non-fiction) and it is now in the catalog. I think the cover couldn’t be neater. It should be a fun and fascinating read.
Congratulations to Marin on her hard work and years of research bringing this to light! As a smart, helpful colleague she was a pleasure to work with, and now as an emerging writer she can count on a lot of us as her first fans.
Summary: Riots over the medical use of cadavers. Public access to institutions for the insane. And full-blown surgeries without the aid of anesthetics or painkillers. Welcome to the middle ages of American medicine. Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge exposes the extraordinary practices and major players of American medical history, from the colonial era to the late 1800s. It’s hard to believe that today’s cutting-edge medicine originated from such crude beginnings, but this book reminds us to be grateful for today’s medical care, while also raising the question: what current medical practices will be the horrors of tomorrow?
June 28, 2016
This is due in October by the author of Forrest Gump, featuring vivid characters in an historical fiction tale. Interest?
Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early twentieth century, Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this sprawling saga of heroism, injustice, and love. An episodic novel set in six parts, El Paso pits the legendary Pancho Villa, a much-feared outlaw and revolutionary, against a thrill-seeking railroad tycoon known as the Colonel, whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. But when Villa kidnaps the Colonel’s grandchildren in the midst of a cattle drive, and absconds into the Sierra Madre, the aging New England patriarch and his adopted son head to El Paso, hoping to find a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt the Generalissimo down.Replete with gunfights, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso, with its textured blend of history and legend, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the waning days of the frontier.
June 27, 2016
These titles were highlights of BEA and have good prospects for this summer and fall. Comment to claim. Candice Millard’s Destiny of the Republic circulated 400 times in our collection and was also a successful book discussion kit title. Now she’s out in September with Hero of the Empire, focusing on Winston Churchill’s daring youthful career as a war correspondent in the Boer War between Britain and what is now South Africa. Not only is Churchill’s escape from a prisoner of war camp a riveting read, but the analysis of changes in modern warfare (the Boer War was the first to feature concentration camps, snipers, and khaki military uniforms to substitute the famously traditional redcoats) and the depressing aftermath of the Boer War for South Africa’s future is also thoughtful and revealing.
Colson Whitehead has written an alternative history of slavery where the underground railroad is literally that – and the course slavery and its resistance have taken a very different turn in different states. While the brutality of slavery and its fugitive hunters is a dominant theme, the violence is alluded to more than depicted and throughout the book the main character Cora is suspended between certain dread of capture and hope for true deliverance.
The Nix is a debut by Nathan Hill due this August that mixes darkly comic dialog, insightful depictions of time and place, and biting satire of societal conflicts and trends both old and new. His ability to get into the head of Walter Conkite while he covers the 1968 Democratic Convention is keen.
Finally, John Aubrey My Own Life is a re-worked “autobiography,” critically acclaimed in Britain last year, of the notebooks of antiquarian and biography John Aubrey, who knew everyone who was anyone in the 1600’s scientific and political revolutions. The strung together observations touch on every aspect of Aubrey’s boundless curiosity and make for insightful reading.
Hero…and John Aubrey…are also titles under consideration in the PDA pilot, so please do encourage interested readers to reserve them.
Millard, Candice. Hero of the Empire. Doubleday, September 2016.
Summary: At age twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British Army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him. Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape–but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.
Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, September 2016.
Summary: From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood–where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned–Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor–engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey–hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
Hill, Nathan. The Nix. Knopf, August 2016.
Summary: “The Nix is a mother-son psychodrama with ghosts and politics, but it’s also a tragicomedy about anger and sanctimony in America. . . . Nathan Hill is a maestro.” –John Irving A Nix can take many forms. In Norwegian folklore, it is a spirit who sometimes appears as a white horse that steals children away. In Nathan Hill’s remarkable first novel, a Nix is anything you love that one day disappears, taking with it a piece of your heart. It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson–college professor, stalled writer–has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help. To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love, and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother, and himself. From the suburban Midwest to New York City to the 1968 riots that rocked Chicago and beyond, The Nix explores–with sharp humor and a fierce tenderness–the resilience of love and home, even in times of radical change.
Scurr, Ruth. John Aubrey: My Own Life. The New York Review of Books, September 2016.
Summary: John Aubrey, My Own Life is an extraordinary book about the first modern biographer that reimagines what biography can be. This intimate diary of Aubrey’s days is composed of his own words, collected, collated, and enlarged upon by Ruth Scurr in an act of meticulous scholarship and daring imagination. Aubrey was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1626, and is best known as the author of Brief Lives , a book that redefined the art of biography through its informal and memorable sketches of the lives of his contemporaries, both men and women. The reign of Queen Elizabeth and the dissolution of the monasteries were not too far distant in memory during Aubrey’s boyhood. He lived through some of England’s most interesting times: the Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the brief rule of Oliver Cromwell and his son, and the restoration of Charles II. Scurr’s biography honors and echoes Aubrey’s own innovations in the art of biography. Rather than subject his life to a conventional narrative, Scurr has collected the evidence–remnants of a life, from manuscripts, letters, and books–and arranged it chronologically, modernizing words and spellings, and adding explanations when necessary. All sources are given in the extensive endnotes. The result is an immediate, vibrant account of a life, “rescued . . . from the teeth of time,” as Aubrey said of his own strivings.
June 23, 2016
I’ve got two of this one. It reminds me a lot of the His Dark Materials trilogy, in terms of both protagonist adventure and also the sophisticated worldbuilding around one distinguishing otherworldly characteristic, in this case the smoke some people give off when they “sin.” It also has a nice queue going. Comment to claim.
Summary: Readers of the Harry Potter series and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are sure to be mesmerized by Dan Vyleta’s thrilling blend of historical fiction and fantasy, as three young friends scratch the surface of the grown-up world to discover startling wonders–and dangerous secrets. “Dan Vyleta writes with intricacy and imagination and skillful pacing; never once would I have considered putting his book down. In the manner of both a Dickens novel and the best young adult adventure stories (the Harry Potter series among them). . .his ending, which I wouldn’t dare reveal here, is a real firecracker.”–Jennifer Senior, The New York Times. Welcome to a Victorian England unlike any other you have experienced before. Here, wicked thoughts (both harmless and hate-filled) appear in the air as telltale wisps of Smoke. Young Thomas Argyle, a son of aristocracy, has been sent to an elite boarding school. Here he will be purged of Wickedness, for the wealthy do not Smoke. When he resists a sadistic headboy’s temptations to Smoke, a much larger struggle beyond the school walls is revealed. Shortly thereafter, on a trip to London, Thomas and his best friend witness events that make them begin to question everything they have been taught about Smoke. And thus the adventure begins… You will travel by coach to a grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories; where young love blossoms; and where a tumultuous relationship between a mother and her children is the crucible in which powerful passions are kindled, and dangerous deeds must be snuffed out in a desperate race against time.