Monday, June 28, 2010

Pick Up a Paperback

Every summer I put together a display of our newer mass market paperbacks and watch them stream out the door. They are the perfect format for the summer: light and compact. Check out the paperbacks the next time you’re in the library. There are some gems only available in this format!

I decided to start reading a new paperback series to coincide with the display and I’m glad I did. Unfortunately I think I have yet another author I have to add to my “keep an eye out for” list. The list is getting way too long…

The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott

In true adventure fashion the main characters are whisked all over the globe: New York City, Brazil, Tibet and 800 feet below sea level. The goal? The lost city of Atlantis. The city that archeologist Nina Wilde is convinced is out there somewhere still waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately there is a secret society determined to make sure the lost city remains lost forever. Enter Eddie Chase, Nina’s ex-SAS bodyguard, assigned to keep Nina safe from harm, a job that sounded easy on paper and is proving to be one of the most difficult assignments he’s ever taken.

The plot is cinematic in feel with fast-paced action and lots of chatty dialogue, yet there is a puzzle to be solved and Nina’s brilliance is a great foil to Eddie’s amazing capacity to blow everything up and come out still breathing. The totally cheesy (and sometimes pretty darn witty) one-liners will be familiar to adventure fans, but this series is also very different. You can tell it was written by a Brit (and not just because of the American jokes). The book has a different feel than American adventure/thrillers, there is more descriptive bloodshed and the body count of named characters is extremely high. For fans of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider – brains and brawn combine for one thrilling ride.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coming Soon -- Early Review!

At library conferences publishers often preview the books that they feel will be the big hits of the coming season. I was fortunate enough to receive copies of some of the books they talked up. Over the coming months I hope to read (and review) a bunch of these in time for you to get your holds on them before they are released!

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman – Available August 17th!

This is a hauntingly psychological novel exploring the mind of a woman trying to put the events of her past behind her, only to have them reenter her life unexpectedly. Eliza, now a happy housewife and mother of two, was once known as Elizabeth. At age 15, back in 1985, she was kidnapped and held hostage by Walter. Walter manages to discover her current whereabouts and starts to write to her, since his time on death row is finally coming to an end.

Walter, who killed and raped a number of young girls, didn’t kill Elizabeth and she doesn’t understand why she lived. She is living with guilt and confusion and now that communication has opened between them she can finally get the answers to her questions.

Chapters flip between 1985 and the current day, and Lippman has a wonderful ability to open up more questions while answering others that will keep you guessing and reading until the end.

Looking for Something Different?

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow

Have you heard of the Collyer brothers? They were the reclusive brothers who lived in a mansion on Fifth Avenue from the 1880s until 1947. Their house was so filled with junk (including a Model T, baby carriages and over 25,000 books) that 130 tons of garbage was removed from the house upon their deaths and the house was in such disrepair that he had to be razed.

Doctorow takes the information he gleaned from news accounts and writes the fictional diary of younger brother Homer. Homer is relating his story through the use of a Braille typewriter since he has been blind since he was quite young. What’s so fascinating about this account is that in a strange way their hoarding and eccentricity begins to make sense in the framework Doctorow creates for the brothers. As the brothers cut off contact with the outside world, the house, and the writing, feels more claustrophobic and introspective. This is a thoughtful first person account by an intriguing character at once self-sufficient and dependant; an interesting juxtaposition that changes by degrees throughout his life.

If you’re fascinated by the television show Hoarders you may want to check this one out!

Cell by Stephen King

I love zombie books. Why? Because they truly scare me. Vampires and werewolves have been tamed by current television shows and novels, but zombies, the dead rising and going on a rampage is still terrifying!

As much as I love zombie books I hate cell phones. Which makes this book a perfect read in my mind. One beautiful day the pulse goes through all cell phones and those that answer are transformed into crazy, rampaging creatures spreading death and destruction. Those that are infected are “phonies;” those that haven’t gotten the call are “normies.” We follow a group of “normies” as they flee Boston and try to find others that haven’t been affected.

So, while this isn’t exactly a zombie book (the phonies aren’t dead, they are just, well, zombie-like), it feels that way from the get go. Then, as with most Stephen King books, things get weirder and weirder…but unlike most Stephen King books, in the end there is hope!

If you miss the “old King” from classics like Christine and Misery you’ll want to check this one out. It’s classic King with his wonderful colorful descriptions and interesting plot twists all the way.

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

You know you’re having a bad day when you have to kill the terrorist you killed a few days ago yet again. Ordinary people coming back to life and trying to bite, infect and eat the living is the core problem at the center of this book. Since it’s a government agency doing the fighting they try to be all politically correct and call the infected walkers, but they often slip and call them zombies, which is what they are. (Had to get a REAL zombie book on here somehow.)

The scariest science fiction and horror is born from reality. Especially really scary reality. A genius bioterriorist creates a plague by tweaking a prion disease called fatal familial insomnia. It’s a disease where you literally cannot sleep. You eventually go crazy from stress and die. And yes, that disease does exist.

There is a lot of science and a lot of description of military weaponry. I’d suggest this one to fans of horror and action books.

Maberry’s latest The Dragon Factory came out recently, and I have a signed copy just begging to be read this summer. I can hardly wait!

Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez

This series is awesome. Scary and awesome. What would happen if a genius, the world’s most reknown computer game designer, faced with a terminal illness, decided to take over the world from beyond the grave? Sounds like fantasy, but Daemon explains how, using today’s available technology, it could happen.

Events are manipulated in a way that should get a respectful nod from all of us savvy library users. New programs, emails, and events occur once a previous event is over. How is it done? By searching for keywords in newsfeeds. Once the event is “detected” as happened, then next event is launched. Pretty cool, pretty creepy, pretty neat.

The story doesn’t end at the action-packed end of Daemon. This year, Freedom, was released and story concludes. Need some thought provoking philosophical issues mixed with your action? Try this two part series.