Book Lovers

Robopocalypse
Robopocalypse
Daniel Wilson

After the end of the New War, Cormac Wallace finds a block box that has recorded events that took place leading up to Zero Hour – when the robots rebelled – until Archos, the sentient robot who began the attack on mankind, was defeated. Based on the recordings and his own experiences, Cormac relates the stories of several groups of humans who fight against the robots. This gut-wrenching and suspenseful apocalyptic tale lauds the determination and ingenuity of the human race in the face of insurmountable obstacles put forth by the very machines man created.

Mar 22, 2012
Tara
A Man of Parts
David Lodge

A Man of Parts looks at the life and, especially, the many loves of the prolific novelist H.G. Wells.  Stymied in his marriages, Wells acted the part of the Bohemian free-love practitioner.  Interspersed with his domestic life are the stories of how his stories came about and how parts of his life are in each.

Mar 20, 2012
Susan
King Peggy
Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman

On first thought you may find yourself questioning whether this book is a biography or pure fiction, but, have no doubt this is real.  That’s why this book is so fascinating.  In 2008, a secretary, Peggielene Bartels, working at the Ghanaian embassy in Washington D.C. received a phone call at 4 am and was informed by a relative that in accordance with Ghanaian rituals she was the new king of their village, Otuam, as their past king, her uncle, “had gone to the village and he’s not coming down any time soon”. This idiom in Ghanaian royal culture means a person has passed away.

Such begins the fascinating story of how King Peggy Bartels began her new role governing the people of Otuam, while still working at the embassy – a commuter king. Though this may sound like a light-hearted story, the reality is that in 2008 the residents of Otuam didn’t have running water in their homes; instead, children walked nearly 30 minutes each way, every morning,  before school to one of two bore holes in the village to get water for their family’s daily needs.   No high school existed in the village, nor bank, nor radios or even televisions.  Though cell phones were abundant, the Internet was unheard of.  Transportation throughout the village was on foot and other than cabs, cars were rare.  Actually, this wasn’t such a bad thing, since the roads – dirt roads that is – were filled with potholes. Corruption ran rampant and the government had no money in its coffers.  

King Peggy tells the story of how personal strength, determination, guidance from the Gods, humor, and the kindness of others continues to guide the future of a village.  

 

 

Mar 19, 2012
Marilyn
"God Bless America: stories" book cover
God Bless America
Steve Almond

This collection of short stories by essayist and short story writer Steve Almond is not heavy-handed patriotic banter, but rather a sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant look at the unpopular and unusually affected folks that populate our country. One story from the collection, “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Get Punched,” is about a poker-playing psychotherapist who meets his biggest challenge when Gary “Card” Sharpe, professional poker player, comes in for marriage counseling. Other noteworthy stories include the title story, about a thirty-something wannabe actor who’s first job is with a Boston Tea Party re-enactment group, and “The Darkness Together,” about a single mom and her near grown son and the sharp-eyed and somewhat disturbing man who comes between them on their train ride to Toledo. Great dialogue and descriptions (sometimes poetic) make for a wonderful read! (Note: this book is not in the Westland Library's collection, but can be interloaned through mel.org or the Reference Desk)

Mar 9, 2012
Andy
The Ritual
Adam Nevill

Hutch, Luke, Phil, and Dom are old college roommates looking to escape from their hectic lives and rekindle the friendship they once shared at university. Camping in the forests of Scandinavia seems to be the perfect opportunity, until Phil and Dom show up completely unprepared and out of shape, to the shagrin of avid outdoorsman Luke. The situation becomes dire when they cut through an ancient stretch of forest in Sweden and become hopelessly lost in the rotting, rain-soaked woods.

Then they realize a beast is stalking them, and that the monster is somehow tied to the bizarre, long-abandoned settlement they discover in the forest.

Mar 7, 2012
Liz
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

In Westeros, a land of long summers and even longer winters, the temperature is dropping and trouble is brewing. Eddard Stark has been called to serve as the hand of the King, his dear friend Robert, but finds that the King (and he, by extension) has many enemies, both in his court and far outside the great walls of the kingdom. When the Iron Throne is left empty there is no shortage of players eager to place themselves (or their kin) upon it. This series is a must-read for fans of epic fantasy, and highly recommended for anyone who likes a bit of drama, political intrigue, and fascinating characters in their novels. If you enjoy audiobooks, this is a great one. It is narrated by Roy Dotrice, who acts out each character in a way that really brings the story to life. Give yourself some time, though…there are 5 books in this series already, the lightest weighing in at 720 pages. Worth every moment.

Mar 2, 2012
Anonymous
book cover, 420 characters, with collage by Lou Beach
420 Characters
Lou Beach

No, Lou Beach doesn’t populate his short stories with 420 people you need to keep track of, but rather uses the character-input limitations of social media giant, FaceBook, as his primary method (FaceBook only allows 420 characters per entry). Working with these limits, it can be truly amazing what Beach, a collage artist (a few of which make it into the book), comes up with. Many of these tales are of the tough, manly variety; think outlaws, cowboys, gun-toters and alcohol drinkers trying to protect their women, their money, and/or their sanity (or women who are being protected by these guys).  Some stories are surreal (though not too much so), natural images and the collages included only add to the collection’s mystique. You can read these straight through or take them a few at a time; either way, you’re sure to enjoy them.

Feb 28, 2012
Andy
1222
Anne Holt

A freak storm causes a train to derail and the passengers are forced to take shelter in the local hotel.  Two men are murdered in two nights and it's up to former policewoman and wheelchair-bound Hanne Wilhelmsen and some locals to help find out who the perpetrator is before the storm lets up.

Feb 26, 2012
Susan
John Dies at the End
David Wong

David Wong has a story to tell... one that is so monumental that he cannot give out his true name or the name of the town where the story takes place. From the start, Dave has a few problems in life: he's stuck in his dead-end hometown of Undisclosed; he has a dead-end job; and his best friend, John, is just dragging him down even further. Add a new drug called Soy Sauce into the mix, one that helps you see and experience other dimensions, and life suddenly becomes much more interesting for Dave. Now he and John must save the world from a malevolent god attempting to cross over. John Dies at the End is effective at both making you laugh-out-loud and giving you the creeps. John is likely to become one of your favorite literary characters.

Feb 22, 2012
Liz
Zone One
Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s latest is not your typical zombie action thriller. It is set years after the outbreak (known as “Last Night”), after the plague has begun to wear itself down. Efforts at clearing roads and rebuilding infrastructure are under way by the army and leagues of civilian volunteers. One such volunteer, “Mark Spitz,” sweeps the streets of Zone One (formerly lower Manhattan) for infected stragglers with two other survivors. Over three days their stories unfold: their unexceptional lives before Last Night, the combination of luck and determination that has kept them alive and how they and other survivors cope with a society-wide case of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD). Zone One doesn’t concern itself with how the world ends, or whether “normal life” will ever resume, but instead focuses on what will remain when our current world falls apart, and why it might not be the new world we expect.

Feb 16, 2012
Anonymous

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