Book Lovers

The Prague Cemetery
Umberto Eco

The chaos of 19th century Europe that manifested in throughout Italy, France and Germany caused a lot of turmoil.  Umberto Eco takes real life historical events and imagines what if all that chaos was caused by one person who was a master forger and sparked riots and wars?  In The Prague Cemetery, we get to see the potential evil behind several true events as well as one of the most infamous documents known, The Protocols of Zion.

Jan 9, 2012
The Submission
Amy Waldman

Amy Waldman's debut novel, The Submission, comes out ten years after 9/11, but the setting is New York, a couple years after the attack.  A jury convenes to decide on the memorial dedicated to the victims of that devastating attack.  The winning selection turns out to be the design of an American Muslim architect.  This causes waves of emotional turmoil throughout the city as debate escalates about the appropriateness of the chosen memorial.  Waldman does an excellent job giving the perspectives of a cast of characters who all are affected by grief.  This is a fast read that takes on such complicated topics like what qualifies as art and what is the true nature of Islam?  

Jan 2, 2012
El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency
Ioan Grillo

There's been several books written in the past few years that try to explain what exactly is happening in Mexico with all the violence.  A lot of mainstream American media fails to delve deep into what the causes may be and what it means for our country, north of the border.  Ioan Grillo is a British journalist who gives us a very well researched account of all aspects of the drug war that is currently going on.  In El Narco, Grillo breaks it down for us into three parts.  Part one focuses on the drug history in Mexico, as well as Colombia and the United States.  The second part explains the anatomy of the power and money hungry Mexican drug cartels.  The last part is called "Destiny".  This is the best part because it tells us what the possible future scenarios could be, whether more violence or whether peace is possible.  With Colombia as a model, Grillo shows how there is still hope for Mexico to avoid becoming a failed state.

Dec 30, 2011
The Magician King
Lev Grossman

In this sequel to The Magicians, Lev Grossman picks up the further adventures of Quentin and his friends.  When we last saw them, they had become kings and queens of Fillory.  Eventually, this grows to be somewhat boring.  Quentin and his friend Julia set sail to find more adventures.  They wind up magically returning to the real world of Massachusetts.  Using all of the magic knowledge they possess, the two desperately try to get back to the magical land of Fillory.  Once again, with The Magician King, Grossman gives us a well crafted story aimed at grown fans of the Harry Potter series with this literary fantasy.

Dec 28, 2011
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
Alan Bradley

For those of us who like a good holiday read with a bit of mystery, Alan Bradley has released the newest of his Flavia de Luce stories just in time for the holidays. Christmas has coated Buckshaw in a wintry sheen and a film crew is in town, using the country estate as the location for an upcoming film. When one of the actors is found strangled after a community performance, Flavia is on the case! Her insatiable curiosity and precocious wit will keep readers entertained throughout this quick read.

Dec 16, 2011
Death in the City of Light
David King

In the aftermath of the second World War and the retreat of Nazi forces from Paris, police respond to reports of a curious smoke and foul odor coming from a townhouse on the rue Le Sueur and discover a most gruesome scene: a furnace room filled with body parts, a deep pit filled with quicklime and even more remains, and a sound-proof “kill room”-the specific purpose of which still remains a mystery. After an intensive manhunt the owner of the property is captured, a charismatic city doctor who claims to have worked in service of the French Resistance, and whose trial will become one of the most sensational press events of postwar France. King’s account will be a treat for fans of historical true crime such as Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City.

Dec 8, 2011
Y: The Last Man
Y: The Last Man
Brian K. Vaughan

This title is the first in a fascinating graphic novel series.  Yorick Brown has discovered that he is the last man on earth.  All of the mammal males on the planet died instantly in an unexplained plague.  The women of earth must step up to reestablish and reorganize society (image most of the goverment gone, few mechanics, pilots and machine operators).  Everyone has differnet intentions for Yorick.  Some want to study him and find a way to repopulate the human race while others blame men for everything that happened and want to kill him to remove the last Y chromosone in the human species.  It's a very interesting premise and this graphic novel series will definitely keep your attention.

Dec 3, 2011
The Night Circus
Erin Morganstern

Le Cirque des Reves arrives without warning, and is only open from dusk to dawn. Within its tents patrons will find wonders beyond their wildest dreams, created by a cast of talented and powerful entertainers. Two of the circus’ star players, Celia and Marco, are no ordinary illusionists. They are magical opponents, playing on behalf of their mentors, in a game to which they do not entirely understand and to which their lives are bound, with the circus as their playing field. As they realize their roles, they choose to pursue romantic and magical collaboration instead of fatal competition, though the fate of the circus-and all of its players-hangs in the balance. Simply enchanting.

Dec 1, 2011
Manana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans
Jorge G. Castaneda

Most news stories we hear about Mexico have to do with bad things.  Whether it be for the H1N1 virus, illegal immigration or extreme drug related violence.  For being our neighbor, Mexico and its people are really a mystery to the American general public.  In Jorge G. Castaneda's Manana Forever?: Mexico and the Mexicans, the former foreign minister attempts to help us understand the myriad of paradoxes in Mexican culture and character.  He then considers the future possibilities that Mexico faces as it currently goes through rapid changes.

Nov 29, 2011
Stephen King

Jake Epping, high school English teacher, is sent back to 1958 via a time-travel rabbit hole under the local diner.  Al, the diner owner, shows Jake the way to the past and has one dying request:  stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating President Kennedy in 1963.  Jake becomes George Amberson and spends the next five years getting to know Oswald's life.  He also gets involved in the daily life of living and loving, finding the past is not always easy to change.  Will he be able to prevent Kennedy's death and what happens if he is successful?  Fans of time travel and historical fiction should enjoy this story.

Nov 28, 2011

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