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A long-time Changing Hands junkie (his first book from CHB was bought in 1974), Scott's reading tastes run the gamut from literary classics to high fantasy to Postcolonial Indian Subcontinent literature. A graduate of ASU with a degree in English Literature focusing on Medieval and Renaissance drama, he also is a die-hard Christopher Moore and Gregory Maguire fan. When he's not reading (which is a rarity) he can be found experimenting with new recipes for bread or cheesecake, or dabbling with his own creative non-fiction writing.
"I'll make a corpse of him that disobeys." These words could easily be attributed to any number of modern world leaders, but alas, they come from Shakespeare's Richard III (Act I, Scene 2). With his usual master craftsmanship, Greenblatt examines the modern autocratic leader through the lens of Shakespeare's tyrannical figures. And you thought that Shakespeare couldn't be relevant to modern times...
Presented as "Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon," the adventures of Aru Shah are so much more than just that. Yes, there is magic, yes, there is mythology brought to life, and yes, there are kids finding their way in a less-than-forgiving world...but there are also things so often missing from adventure stories - realistic representation of a culture that is not white main-stream America, feminism, and strong female characters in both lead and supporting roles.
The first translation of Homer's epic poem by a female scholar. Wilson devotes nearly a quarter of the book to her introduction which is a fascinating look into how a grand translation comes into being. Then, in exquisite iambic pentameter, she breathes new life into a timeless classic, but not once offering the original meaning or feeling as a sacrifice to her muse. Think of it as a Shakespearean take on the Tragedy of Odysseus of Ithaka.
I strongly suspect Oyehaug is one of those authors one either finds brilliant or one finds utterly boring. I am in the first group, as I found her writing style evocative of the emotions she describes. The fears or neuroses of the characters crept into my own consciousness, making the stories that much more vivid and poignant. Perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of Oyehaug's writing style is how unique the voice is to each short story, giving the feeling that each was written by a different author.
I expected this to be a Nesbo thriller inspired by Macbeth. What I got was a book from an alternate universe where Nesbo wrote Macbeth instead of Shakespeare. Having read the play a time or twenty, I didn't expect to be surprised by anything, until Nesbo introduces the Witches. Hallmark Nesbo character development coupled with deftly applied noir storytelling make this one of the best books I've read in a long time.
First off, this is not The Martian. This is a very different book, told in a very different way. Therefore, I really feel like the same audience that was enraptured with The Martian will feel Artemis falls short. The main protagonist, Jazz Bashara, often comes across as awkward and very un-feminine, but then she was raised in a masculine world with very little in the way of feminine influence. Beyond the quirky characterization, Weir's trademark science-made-understandable is eminently present, making this one of those science fiction books that those who don't normally like sci-fi will likely enjoy.
Rushdie's thirteenth novel marks a return to realism. Written from the point of view of an up-and-coming young filmmaker chronicling the lives of the ultra-rich Golden family. Their story is set against one of most blaring juxtapositions of the last century - the Obama and Trump administrations. Rushdie's sublime prowess unwinding a story shines brilliantly, as always. With laser precision, Rushie dissects a generation's frame of reference for globalization.
The Experiment is a city inhabited by people taken from various points in the twentieth-century and forced to live together in a new society. One of these men, Andrei Voronin, was an astronomer in 1950’s Leningrad. In The Doomed City, he is a garbage collector – until through a devastating series of events, he rises to power in the political machine with nightmarish effects. This is not a book for the casual reader. It is often disconnected and vague, but it is a clear expression of how the brothers Strugatsky thought their own countrymen felt living in Soviet Russia.
I'll be honest. I was prepared for this to be a cheesy take on witchcraft and demonology. I expected either romance or bromance but I was pleasantly surprised to encounter neither. Prosper Redding is your typical teenage boy from a very old and very wealthy family...until the night his grandmother takes him and his twin sister Prudence before the assembled adults of the Redding family. Bracken definitely did her homework in both magick and demonology, skillfully twin\sting them into the world of a snarky but frightened teenage boy.
Another installment in the Hogarth line of re-imagined versions of some of Shakespeare's best know works. St. Aubyn tackles the hefty chore of retelling one of the Bard's most retold plays, King Lear. Brought thoroughly modern, Lear becomes Henry Dunbar, an international media magnate who comes to regret turning over control of the company to his two viperous daughters - especially once he is imprisoned in a nursing home. Edward St. Aubyn is no stranger to devastating family discord, and that skill serves him extremely well here. The writing evokes definitive feelings about the two eldest daughters, and none of those feelings are warm or fuzzy.
After twenty years, Arundhati Roy marks her return to fiction with a complex and riveting tale peopled with an incredibly diverse cast of characters - Anjum born with both male and female genitalia, Tilotamma who finds herself caught up in dangerous movement for independence, and everyone that touches their lives – all struggling to find the place of their most sincere happiness, regardless of the constraints of gender, ethnicity, or religion. Roy uses her supreme gift of storytelling to conjure a storyline that moves like a flowing river. Even after two readings, I think there is still more to be found beneath the surface.
From 2014 to 2016, British theatre director Dominic Dromgoole led London’s Globe Theatre Company on a world tour, performing Hamlet in nearly two-hundred countries. This book is far more than just a recounting of the troupe’s tour, it is an amalgamation of travelogue, theatrical history, and Shakespearean scholarship, discussing the impacts of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s time juxtaposed against the way was received around the world. The other wonderful thing about this book is Dromgoole’s style makes this accessible and enjoyable for not just Shakespeare aficionados. The humor and wit with which he describes the troupe’s adventures and performances make it a fun read for everyone.
Melisande Stokes is a junior professor of languages and linguistics at Harvard University. It is there that she runs into one Tristan Lyons, an agent of a "shadowy government entity" (his words). The agency is D.O.D.O. - the Department of Diachronic Operations and their goal is to bring magic back - yes, back. Apparently, it stopped working following the 1851 Great Exhibition at The Crystal Palace in London. The infusion of Galland's warmth and realism into Stephenson's complex, technical, and imaginative writing create a story and that pulls the reader in and doesn't let go until the last page.
Before I say anything else, I have to warn Wonder Woman purists - this book is not for you. Leigh Bardugo gives a modern take on the Amazon Warrior's origin and first encounter with the World of Men. And Diana is definitely a teenage girl. But, have no fear, her Amazonian heritage and Wonder Woman lore blasts through in the last half of the book, Bardugo most assuredly did her homework on the origins of Wonder Woman, Themyscira, and the Amazons.
First of all, if you are looking for a fast-paced, quick-to-the-action book, step away from Natasha Pulley. That is simply not how she unwinds a story. Her descriptions and characterizations are unraveled slowly and lovingly. If you are a lover of deftly woven narration and elegant description, definitely read this book. It has a taste of mystery, a dash of magical realism, and a few hints of historical fiction. I frequently found myself re-reading passages just to enjoy the descriptions...
At a time in our world where the concept of nationalism is so profound, this short work dives headlong into a nation's psyche. What exactly would happen if a national landmark was destroyed...following on a World War II plan to destroy the Acropolis, a young man decades later carries out the plan. In only 96 pages, Chrissopoulos manages to thoroughly examine what happens when national identity is threatened and how a population comes to terms with the loss.
With so many cookbooks to choose from, it's often difficult to find one that captures how to understand not only the steps to creating a meal, but why certain things combine well and others do not. Think of this cookbook as science meets art. Nosrat explains in depth why the four fundamentals - Sal, Fat, Acid, and Heat combine to make food enjoyable and flavorful. This would be an ideal cookbook for those just beginning to explore their culinary prowess.
Comics have never been afraid to showcase strong females. From superpowered juggernauts like Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel to super-spies like Tiffany Sinn, this book covers the most ground-breaking women to grace newsstands and comic book shops. While the first two installments of the Comic Book History series focused on the strange and regrettable characters from comics, the women covered in Nicholson's book are definitely the cream of the crop. Granted, some of Marvel's top female characters didn't make the cut here (Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Pepper Potts, Jessica Jones) so Marvelites may be a bit disappointed, but the rich history of comic book women is most assuredly showcased here.
Well, it's Gaiman. There isn't much else that needs be said... Gaiman gives a contemporary flavor to these classic tales from the Norse pantheon, but make no mistake, while the language may take on a more modern flavor, the stories and lessons to be gleaned from the myths remain true to their origins. This can almost serve as an American Gods primer...or refresher...or companion.
So just imagine that Sherlock Holmes is NOT a deductive genius, eats only toast and soup, and...is a sorcerer given to fits of prophetic rambling. Inspector Lestrate likes to lap up the blood at crime scenes...and Dr. John Watson is...a doctor in need of lodging, so for the the price of one sovereign (ever...just one) he moves in with Warlock Holmes. I found myself laughing out loud time and again, yet in the back of my mind, that tiny voice noted that the details of Doyle's originals shone through Denning's masterful re-imagining of the world's greatest detective.
Beginning only twenty days after the conclusion of The Three Musketeers, The Red Sphinx continues the stories of Cardinal Richelieu, Queen Anne, and King Louis XIII. After writing the novella The Dove, Dumas wrote seventy-five chapters of The Red Sphinx, but never completed the work. This edition combines both the completed portions of The Red Sphinx and The Dove into a cohesive narrative. This is classic swashbuckling Dumas - a brilliant combination of action, romance, intrigue, and history wrapped up in the exquisite descriptive style that is Dumas' hallmark. Translator Ellsworth does an admirable job of retaining the lyric beauty of Dumas' original work.
“[Cora] had seen men hung from trees and left for buzzards and crows. Women carved open to the bones with the cat-o’-nine-tails. Bodies alive and dead roasted on pyres. Feet cut off to prevent escape and hands cut off to stop theft.” The raw imagery of the horrors of slavery resonates throughout time, and that's clearly no mistake. Reminiscent of the imagery of walker and Morrison infused with the stark bleakness of Ellison and Wright, The Underground Railroad is one of those literary works that spurs on an understanding of our past, and hopefully by way of that, our present.
Many times, reading a novel can shine a light into a dark corner and bring about a new revelation about some aspect of the reader's life. Fever Dream does no such thing. Instead, it directs that light just off center, casting long, deep shadows and leaving the reader with just as many questions as answers; questions about the nature of love, of parenthood, and of loss, and just how far a parent will go for their child.
Cartoonist Kate Beaton has done it again...anyone who is a parent will love this book, and Beaton's glimpse into the mind of the little monarchs in our lives!