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Aristotle and Newton had very different concepts on the nature of time. Then along came Einstein who poked very large holes in both their theories. Rovelli explains in understandable terms the impact of recent scientific discoveries on the actual relationship between what we perceive and "true" reality. His prose is simple, clear and filled with tales of philosophers and scientists that are moving and amusing.The audiobook version is read by Benedict Cumberbatch with his rich voice in a precise but unhurried manner like a brilliant but gentle teacher. The audio came from Libro.fm, the indie alternative to Audible/Amazon. Ask any staff member how you can download audiobooks from Libro.fm.
I picked up a used copy of another of Scalzi’s novels while on vacation. Loved it and noticing that he won the Hugo for Redshirts, I ordered a copy and opened it with great anticipation. It starts with a well worn storyline—a young graduate from the Academy is posted to a starship with a quirky crew of idealistic officers and a cynical veteran crew on a mission like that of the Enterprise. My 12-year-old self would’ve lapped it up but there had to be more to a Hugo winner—and there was. Soon I was laughing so hard and so often that my partner made me read it in another room. Although it both spoofs and pays homage to many earlier works, it does it so in such clever and creative ways that you will be both amused and amazed!
Imagine if Jane Austen wrote a WWII novel set in England before, during and after the Blitz. Surrounding Lisa, a 13-yr-old refugee newly arrived on a Kindertransport train, are half a dozen "supporting" cast whose characters are so well developed that you come to know each of them and love most of them. Beautifully told with some surprising and wonderful plot twists, this is a deeply moving story. When I reached the last page, I didn't want it to end, didn't want to leave these people who feel so dear to me.
Although Circe is born an immortal goddess with little status or power, she succeeds in becoming the first witch in western literature. Why does she use her new powers to turn men into pigs? And what motivates her to be one of the most benevolent deities Odysseus meets on his epic journey? This beautifully written creative retelling of a classic myth drew me instantly into a world of vast powers and deep love. I listened to the audiobook version from Libro.fm, the indie bookstore alternative to Amazon's audible.com. When I had to stop listening I ached to get back to this amazing, twisting, laughter and tear evoking tale.
It's been a couple of years since I read this book but the story and characters have not faded. If you've read All Quiet on the Western Front, you know it's a WWI tale told by young German soldier. War & Turpentine is the same tale but told by a young Belgian soldier fighting in the trenches against the Germans. That's the core of the store but it's magic lies in the soldiers other life as a artist, the son of a master class fresco painter. Brilliantly written and selected as a one of the New York Times Top 10 Best of the Year, it's a book that's built to last.
I listened to this with my 9-year-old grandson as an audiobook from Libro.fm. Movingly narrated by a professional cast, this is the tale of a boy who journeys across the country with his dog in pursuit of his dream. He's determined to launch a homemade rocket into space bearing a recording he is making which describes life on earth. In pursuit of this quest, he discovers a lost sibling and learns some important lessons about his life on earth. My grandson was enthralled. So was I.
Ask any staff member how you can download audiobooks from Libro.fm, the indie bookstore alternative to Audible/Amazon.
This collection of five stories was finished shortly before Johnson's death in 2017. Like several of his other works of fiction, it's likely to add to his list of awards including Pulitzer Prize finalist and the National Book Award. The author spent much of his life in Arizona, saying “I am convinced that I could stay in Phoenix my whole life without leaving and never be at a loss for anything to write about. There is a lot that goes by that we don’t pay attention to because it doesn’t affect us directly. Things that if they happened to us would be ... very important events. Those things fascinate me.” They will fascinate you, too, and there's no point in my telling you what these stories are about because they speak so eloquently for themselves.
In the audiobook version each story is read by a different brilliant reader--Nick Offerman, Michael Shannon, Will Patton, Dermot Mulroney and Liev Schreiber. Ask any staff member or visit our website to learn about listening to audiobooks from Libro.fm, the indie bookstore alternative to Amazon's Audible.
Lin, a Newberry Honor winner and National Book Award finalist, has taken themes from traditional Chinese folktales and worked them into a story (and to stories within the story) that kids and adults will find heartwarming, magical and thoroughly engaging. The young male and female protagonists face hardships which are not easily dealt with. Despite the journey they must take to overcome their struggles, they never lose their compassion for others they meet along the way who are also facing difficulties. We read this with our 9-yr old who absolutely loved it.
I’ve loved Erdrich’s novels ever since Love Medicine came out in 1984. Future Home is no exception. Set in a not to distant time in an America dominated by an authoritarian government based on religious fundamentalism, it touches on many of the issues of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Orwell’s 1984. The protagonist and narrator is part Ojibwe and the action shifts back and forth between the city where she was raised by her white adoptive parents and the reservation where she goes to find her birth mom. Humorous, suspenseful and touching, it’s a captivating tale that kept me totally engrossed throughout.
I listened to the author read this as a Libro.fm audiobook. Libro.fm is the indie bookstore's alternative to Amazon's Audible. Ask any staff member or visit our website to learn about listening to digital audio from Libro.fm.
One of BBC's "10 Books You Should Read" & New Yorker's "Books We Loved in 2016." -- This novel plunges the reader headlong into the tangled web of an Indian family whose members rely on each other first to subsist and then to protect their newfound (possibly ill-gotten) wealth. Vivid and compelling descriptions of the hierarchical interplay between men and women and men as each tried to find a stable foothold in a shifting society. A quick, powerful, entertaining read that left me wanting more from this author.
In this 2nd sequel to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are once more at the center of well crafted fast-moving tale that is totally faithful to Larsson's original characters. Ultimately about revenge, it moves between nail-biter and tear-jerker with short excursions into financial market analysis and biogenetic research. Except for a scattering of sex and humor, there's never a pause in the action. It's also available in an audio version from Libro.fm, the independent choice for audiobooks.
Everyone I knew read this excellent novel in the 80s. Except me. But after hearing Margaret Atwood interviewed last week, I knew it was time--devoured it in 3 days, non-stop. Atwood just wrote a new intro for it in 2017 in which she relates what we're experiencing "in the wake of the recent American election" to the conditions that led up to the dystopia she depicts so brilliantly in The Handmaid's Tale. To see what she envisioned now playing itself out in our lives is both scary and essential if we are to resist and derail such a future while there's still time. As one reviewer advised, "Read it while it's still allowed." PS--the intro contains spoilers. Save it for last.
The hard-working and brilliant Senator and former comedian finally releases his humorous self from the cage he’s had it locked within during his first 8 years in congress. This moving and witty memoir was hidden from his staff until just before its release so they wouldn’t talk him out of publishing it.
A well-researched, very readable book about the 30’s and 40’s when fascism was on the rise. Although they came from opposite ends of the political and economic spectrum, together they were leading voices of anti-fascism in those years. I learned that Churchill, although a key factor in overcoming the Nazi war machine and a personage to whom we are deeply indebted for our freedom, had some serious defects in his personality.
Published in '83, this delightful book, found on vacation at a used bookstore, is much more than a travel book. While in Sri Lanka the author first began to think of visiting this remote Himalayan Buddhist country after conversations with an elderly German painter who had become a Buddhist monk. Writing skill and brilliant insights enhance this chronicle of his search for the nature and wisdom of the people of Ladakh. It includes many often hilarious vignettes of his fellow pilgrims and this advice from an aging Rinpoche: "If you truly love all things, you will want to become perfect, so that you can be of help to them. You should meditate on this. It is the beginning."
This is Stephen King's time travel story of a high-school English teacher who finds himself persuaded to go back to the late 50s in order to prevent the assassination of President JFK. I was 20 years old on that day in '63 and the trauma, though faded, still occasionally evokes tears. So I picked up a copy of the novel one day and finished the first chapter on a break. Never having read King before, I was impressed with his skill at story telling. Actually, I was totally hooked and loving it after 900 more pages.
This is one of his best. As a crime reporter for the LA Times, Connolly has extensive knowledge of LAPD procedures and of the tensions cops experience. The hero, Renee Ballard, stays true to her values, jeopardizing her career by refusing to be sidelined, believing only she can bring a certain pair of violent perpetrators to justice. Her love for her Hawaiian grandmother and her faithful dog, humanize this delightfully flawed heroine. Couldn't put it down and I'm hoping he writes more Ballard mysteries.
I listened to this as an audiobook from Libro.fm, the indie bookstore's alternative to Amazon's Audible. Ask any staff member or visit our website to learn about listening to digital audio from Libro.fm.
It's a time when Catholic churches in Mexico are burned, crosses banned and disobedience means death. All the priests have renounced or fled except for one "Whiskey Priest" who has many failings but emerges as a person willing to sacrifice himself to serve others. Hunted relentlessly by a police lieutenant, the priest is often hidden by the poor at great peril to themselves. TIME magazine's pick as one of the 100 best in the English language since 1923, this novel shows a richer way to think about faith, one which I find more accessible than the romantic narratives about belief.
I listened to this as an audiobook from Libro.fm, the indie alternative to Audible/Amazon. The narrator, Bernard Mayes, was excellent. Ask any staff member how you can download audiobooks from Libro.fm.
The audiobook version is narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Lena Dunham and others. Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln are grieving the death of their 11-yr-old son, Willie. Most of the characters are ghosts in the cemetery where he was recently interred. They're trapped, unable to move on to a "better place" because of unresolved personal issues. Willie chooses to stay because of his father's loving and intensely moving visits to his grave. Ultimately, all the ghosts are deeply touched by those visits. Their interactions with Willie and each other propel this amazing story to its brilliant conclusion.
Ask any bookseller how to download this other novels from Changing Hands.
One of the most enduring stories of all time is retold, not by a troubled young prince, but by a fetus in his mother's womb. This requires, of course, a willing suspension of disbelief on the reader's part, as did the butterflies in 1000 Years of Solitude or the witches in Macbeth. Having made this concession, the reader is richly rewarded by a tale both humorous and touching, topped off by an exciting and deeply moving final chapter.
This story about three German soldiers is drawn so vividly that you will feel their hunger, their fingers freezing as they light cigarettes in the Polish winter and their common hatred of their platoon leader. You'll also feel their ecstasy as they share slices of stolen salami or work out a problem facing one member of the threesome. It’s a short, brilliant tale told from a view of WW II to which we're accustomed.
I decided to read this collection of essays because I heard it referred to in a New York Times Book Review podcast. Gornick’s brilliant and entertaining writing examines the connections between love and literature in the works of Willa Cather, Grace Paley, Jean Rhys, and other authors of note. It's a treat to have found such a gem and be able to recommend it to others.
A 72-yr old civil war vet has a tolerable life traveling through Texas, picking up newspapers in larger cities and bringing the news of the world to folks in smaller towns. A friend asks him a favor--return a young Kiowa captive to her family. He reluctantly agrees to a trek of many miles and then keeps asking himself how at his age he could possibly have consented to shepherd this feral child who speaks no English. Think of tales of orphans delivered to curmudgeon grandfathers who end up softening the old man's heart. Now flip that plot upside down, add a touch of The Miracle Worker and you have all the ingredients a master storyteller needs to create a work of humor, suspense, humanity and deep emotional impact.
Can a lifelong thief become a good, honest man? Can a cynical con artist, born into poverty and excluded from "the good life" be converted by love? Can such a man even fall in love, even with the perfect woman? Pérez-Reverte tackles all of this in a novel that is every bit as moving and memorable as some of the great classics.
It’s a near perfect crafting of science fiction and fantasy in which scientists and cyberneticists vie with witches and wizards for control of that which should not be controlled but should rather be attended to with a caution born of reverence for life at its messiest and most beautiful. It’s about the limits of scientific logic and the naivete of nature worship. It’s about love and passion with a generous dollop of steamy sex. And it’s about loss and redemption. Solid, top notch and highly recommended.
"Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return."
Q: Was it as good as the original series by Stieg Larsson?
A: Of course not.
Q: So, how good was it then?
A: Loved every minute of it.
Q: Then what was missing?
A: The pleasure of meeting those unforgettable characters for the first time and watching them find each other and themselves. But reading this latest one by Lagercrantz was terrific—like traveling to Paris again some years after your first magical visit. Not to be missed.
With all the publicity surrounding the recent series loosely based on this classic, I picked up a copy to get a taste of the original and could not put it down. It isn't science fiction, but an alternative history of a world in which Germany and Japan won WW2. The US is divided into a Nazi East Coast and a Japanese West. In the neutral zone separating them our heroine, a Judo instructor, struggles to survive in this nightmare world. She reads a book banned by the German high command, which seems to offer a glimmer of hope, a way back to a better life. Now she can no longer be content to just survive. We also follow a Japanese official whose code of ethics conflicts with the bureaucracy in which he serves, an antique dealer with the morals of Ebenezer Scrooge and a Nazi undercover agent – all fascinating characters. This is a brilliant novel, well written and thoroughly enjoyable.
The opening chapters drew me immediately into the life of a young girl’s struggle to understand the world around her. The small agrarian country in which she lives is being overtaken economically, culturally and militarily by the forces of a dominant empire. The family that has nurtured her through childhood, a family with a mother and two fathers, is about to dissolve under the strictures imposed by new rulers. She learns not only how to survive but to prosper, but her rise to power comes with difficult ethical dilemmas as she seeks to exact the ultimate price from those who destroyed her family and her country. With a cast of characters to rival the Game of Thrones, this well-written tale is well worth reading. A BuzzFeed best of 2015 pick.
I couldn’t tell where this story was going. These stories, I should have said; five of them interlaced, spanning several centuries but nevertheless touching each other again and again. Five stories with eight voices: six human and two artificial intelligences—digital entities less than human, of course, but with superhuman memories and supplied with algorithms to provide their owners with a level of companionship rarely found except between the best of friends. I couldn’t tell where it was going, but I couldn’t stop reading. —Bob
Larson's newest shifts perspectives back and forth between the passengers and crew on the luxury ocean liner and the captain and crew aboard the German U-boat. Although the end of the story is well known, many of the circumstances and personalities involved were fresh revelations – surprising, curious, tragic, and thoroughly engaging. The way Larson tells this story recalls other compelling historical works like those of Laura Hillenbrand that read like the best fiction, propelling the reader from chapter to chapter.