Book Lovers

The Boy in the Suitcase
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Nina Borg receives a phone call from her estranged friend Karin to meet her and then is left with a key to a train station locker.  She picks up a suitcase from the locker and is stunned to find a young boy in it.  At the same time in Lithuania, Sigrit awakens to find herself in the hospital and that her son, Mikas, is missing.  Sigrit is on a mission to find her son while Nina is trying to keep the young boy safe.  But two men are also on their paths.

Feb 13, 2012
Susan
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
Mark Adams

"Martini explorer" -  "a euphemism for a traveler who fancies himself tough but who really expects a certain level of comfort."

In Turn Right at Machu Picchu, this term and definition comes up in describing Hiram Bingham, the Yale professor who was often credited with discovering the great Inca ruin, Machu Picchu in Peru.  Where once Bingham was the inspiration for Indiana Jones, nowadays, he is portrayed as a grave robber who smuggled ancient artifacts back to the States.  Travel writer Mark Adams decides to follow the path of Bingham in hopes of investigating whether the negative allegations against Bingham have merit.  With a hardened Aussie guide, Adams treks through land that is still undiscovered and untrodden despite the thousands of tourists who visit Peru to see and feel the mystery of this spectacular and often misunderstood archaeological site.

Feb 13, 2012
Andrea
Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry
David Orr

David Orr is not trying to make everyone a poetry lover. He is trying to help people who are interested in poetry or on the fringe to figure out what it is they like about this art form. Though Orr is the poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review, he graduated from college before he read his first book of poems, so his style is more Everyman than Academic. B&P is broken down into 7 chapters (or concepts) that he believes most modern poetry (and most discussions of modern poetry) survives around: "The Personal, The Political, Form, Ambition, The Fishbowl (which focuses on the sociology of poetry), and Why Bother?" The chapters include plenty of discussion, with a few, necessary samples from poems as well as gossip about the principle movers and skakers of the art (a discussion of the importance of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop sheds light on how the image of a poet can affect their work’s reception). This is a recommended read if you’re interested in the state of poetry, where it has come from and where it will go in the next 50 years.

Feb 11, 2012
Andy
Moonlight Mile
Dennis Lehane

It has been more than a decade since Dennis Lehane’s last mystery featuring detectives Angela Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie. They return in this sequel to Gone, Baby Gone, in which a young girl they’d found once disappears from home for a second time, though this time no one seems to be looking for her.  Kenzie and Gennarro (now Kenzie and Kenzie) must confront their past mistakes and revisit an old case that-though technically resolved-still haunts them.

Feb 1, 2012
Anonymous
Maisie Dobbs
Maisie Dobbs: A Novel
Jacqueline Winspear

After World War I, Maisie Dobbs becomes assistant to Maurice Blanche, a discrete investigator and Maisie’s former tutor. She eventually takes over his business, and while working on a case becomes aware of The Retreat, a place where injured WWI veterans can go to live without having to deal with the outside world. Maisie thinks The Retreat is suspicious and decides to investigate further. This, the first Maisie Dobbs story, is an intriguing tale that reveals much about life during and after World War I.

Jan 22, 2012
Tara
Agent 6
Tom Rob Smith

Smith continues his story of former KGB agent Leo Demidov, who we first met in the stellar Child 44 (one of my personal favorite books).  First we learn the backstory of how Leo met his wife Raisa intertwined with the story of Communist American singer Jesse Austin in 1950.  We move ahead to 1965 when a family tragedy occurs on a visit to the United States.  Leo is determined to find out the real truth of what happened during that visit--a journey that will take another 15 years and danger while he's working in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.

Jan 20, 2012
Susan
And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
Charles J. Shields

This is the first biography on the late, great satirist, Kurt Vonnegut to be written.  That alone will make numerous Vonnegut fans run out and read through this thoroughly researched work.  And it is well written.  But fair warning, if you're one of his fans who has been greatly influenced by his writing and adored his liberal, kind persona, this is going to be a depressing read.  In And So It Goes, we see the contradictions between Vonnegut's public and private lives.  We get to see his darker side.  Nevertheless, this book is still fascinating.

Jan 17, 2012
Andrea
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Revelation Space
Alastair Reynolds

This Space Opera takes place in a Universe where human civilization has colonized neighboring systems by the 26th century, but faster than light space travel is still not a possibility.  If somoene wants to travel from system to system, they must be put into a hybernation state because an interstellar journey takes years.  Ana Khouri gets blackmailed into joining the crew of the Nostalgia for Infiniti who are traveling to Resurgam, which is on the edge of human inhabited space to find a man named Sylveste who they believe will be able to cure their captain of the melding plague.  Sylveste meanwhile has been trying to solve the mystery of the Amaratin, a 900,000 year old alien civilization that once inhabited Resurgam but appeared to be wiped out by a mysterious cataclysm.  In fact the remnants of every civilization humanity has encountered so far has been wiped out in a similar manner, begging the question of what has happened to them all.

Jan 11, 2012
Kristy
Out of Oz
Gregory Maguire

With Out of Oz, the fourth and final installment of the Wicked Years series, Gregory Maguire ends the epic tale that he began in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy Gale has returned to Oz, this time in an elevator car displaced during an earthquake, to find it a very different land from her last visit. This time around, Munchkinlanders with a revisionist view of history put her on trial for the assassination of the Wicked Witch. Meanwhile, the Emperor is waging war against the Free State of Munchkinland, and the key to peace lies in an age-old book of magic, a motley crew of exiled Ozzians, including a quiet young girl named Rain and her traveling companion, Tip. Contrary to common lore, Oz will not be saved in its darkest hour, but the morning after.

Jan 10, 2012
Anonymous
The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides

Here is Jeffrey Eugenides long awaited follow-up to his masterpiece, Middlesex.  The Marriage Plot is a reimagining of what we accept as the conventions of a love story.  The novel centers around the love triangle between Leonard, Madeleine and Mitchell as they enter the real world after college during the 1980s.  The marriage plot was essential to old english novels of the nineteenth century from the likes of Jane Austen and others.  It was the ultimate prize in those romances.  Eugenides questions that for modern day readers showing what love looks like now.

Jan 9, 2012
Andrea

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