Archive for the 'New Books' Category

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

This one came from my local library, as it is a subject of some interest to me. I’ll let you know what I think! Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum.

selfishOne of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed “fertility crisis,” and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all—a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children—before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it’s necessary to have it all (see Anne-Marie Slaughter) or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, thirteen acclaimed female writers explain why they have chosen to eschew motherhood. Contributors include Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, who will give a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.

This collection makes a smart and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path to a happy, productive life, and takes our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. In this book, that shadowy faction known as the childless-by-choice comes out into the light.

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

shakesThe Shakespeare Conspiracy (A Christopher Klewe Novel Book 1), by Jeffrey Hunter McQuain

What makes a secret worth dying for? That’s what Christopher Klewe, a brash young professor from Virginia, finds out in Jeffrey Hunter McQuain’s new thriller “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” when he stumbles upon the most shocking cover-up in literary history.

On a rainy Halloween at Washington’s Kennedy Center, a masked killer brutally stabs Klewe’s best friend. Before dying, the victim deliberately drops his raincoat across a puddle and scrawls the letters “SoN” in his own blood. Investigating the murder scene, Klewe is joined by Zelda Hart, a married reporter for The New York Times. They learn the victim’s ear was severed and find evidence of a 400-year-old secret society. When questioned by police, Klewe reveals the surprising question he’s been researching: was Shakespeare black?

Outside Kennedy Center, they meet a drunken security guard who saw the murder and swears that “Shakespeare did it.” Klewe and Zelda grow less skeptical when a figure wearing a Shakespeare mask and wielding an Elizabethan dagger chases them into the Metro subway system toward Maryland.

After being cornered in a remote Maryland cabin by the killer, the two escape to look for answers at Shakespeare and Company, a famous Paris bookstore, as well as in London’s Globe Theater. As they solve each step of the mystery, though, they face new obstacles to overcome and more clues to unravel in their search for the truth.

Pursued across two continents by murderers, the desperate Klewe and Zelda have only three days to solve the strangest mystery of Renaissance history. The evidence mounts up, drawn from actual anagrams hidden in Shakespeare’s own words as well as historically accurate descriptions of Elizabethan paintings and observations made by the playwright’s contemporaries.

Their dangerous journey takes them ultimately to Stratford and the Bard’s final resting place. There the words of the playwright’s epitaph help thwart the deadly conspiracy.

Once hailed as “a jaw-dropping premise” by the late columnist William Safire, “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” is the first novel by a published Shakespeare expert. It offers readers the twists of a thrill ride reminiscent of “The Da Vinci Code” as well as that novel’s excitement of wondering whether its central secret just might be true. If so, this new thriller has the potential to expose the biggest literary conspiracy of all time, offering a whole new way of looking at the world’s greatest writer, William Shakespeare.

New on the Shelves…

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

wreckageLillian Linden is a liar. On the surface, she looks like a brave survivor of a plane crash. But she’s been lying to her family, her friends, and the whole world since rescue helicopters scooped her and her fellow survivor, Dave Hall, off a deserted island in the South Pacific. Missing for almost two years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. But they can’t tell the real story—so they lie.

The public is fascinated by the castaways’ saga, but Lillian and Dave must return to their lives and their spouses. Genevieve Randall—a hard-nosed journalist and host of a news program—isn’t buying it. She suspects Lillian’s and Dave’s explanations about the other crash survivors aren’t true. And now, Genevieve’s determined to get the real story, no matter how many lives it destroys.

In this intriguing tale of survival, secrets, and redemption, two everyday people thrown together by tragedy must finally face the truth…even if it tears them apart.

New on the Shelves…

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

This is another title that my cousin, Ann, donated to the collection. She wasn’t 100% sold on it, but I still want to give it a try. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner:

flameNATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2013 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
New York magazine’s number one book of the year and named a Best Book of 2013 by The Wall Street Journal; Vogue; O, The Oprah Magazine; Los Angeles Times; The San Francisco Chronicle; The New Yorker; Time; Flavorwire; Salon; Slate; The Daily Beast; Bookish; The Jewish Daily Forward; The Austin American-Statesman; Complex; and The Millions, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller. Includes a new essay by the author, with a folio of images.

Reno, so-called because of the place of her birth, comes to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity—artists colonize a deserted and industrial SoHo, stage actions in the East Village, blur the line between life and art. Reno is submitted to a sentimental education of sorts—by dreamers, poseurs, and raconteurs in New York and by radicals in Italy, where she goes with her lover to meet his estranged and formidable family. Ardent, vulnerable, and bold, Reno is a fiercely memorable observer, superbly realized by Rachel Kushner.

 

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Another helpful title: Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin:

betterThe author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change? 
 
Gretchen Rubin’s answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.
 
So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?
 
Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Beforeexplains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.
 
Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore: 

• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Beforewill make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

New on the Shelves…

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

This is another title I hope to read very quickly: Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Dr. Brian Wansink:

slimIn Slim by Design, leading behavioral economist, food psychologist, and bestselling author Brian Wansink introduces groundbreaking solutions for designing our most common spaces–schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and home kitchens, among others–in order to make positive changes in how we approach and manage our diets.   For a quick introduction to the book, check out this YouTube Video: youtube.com/watch?v=Nfudq4C-Agc

Anyone familiar with Wansink’s Mindless Eating knows this is not a typical diet book. Wansink shares his scientific approach to eating, providing insight and information, so we can all make better choices when it comes to food.

The pioneer of the Small Plate Movement, Brian Wansink presents compelling research conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University by way of cartoons, drawings, charts, graphs, floor plans, and more. Slim by Design offers innovative ways to make healthy eating mindlessly easy.

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

I love short stories, and I’m betting by the time this post shows up, I’ll have already reviewed this one. Lucky by Jonathan Lethem:

luckyJonathan Lethem’s third collection of stories uncovers a father’s nervous breakdown at SeaWorld in “Pending Vegan”; a foundling child rescued from the woods during a blizzard in “Traveler Home”; a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street in “Procedure in Plain Air”; and a crumbling, haunted “blog” on a seaside cliff in “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear.” Each of these locates itself in Lethem-land, which can be discovered only by visiting. As in his celebrated novels, Lethem finds the uncanny lurking in the mundane, the irrational self-defeat seeping through our upstanding pursuits, and the tragic undertow of the absurd world(s) in which we live.

Devoted fans of Lethem will recognize familiar themes: the anxiety of influence taken to reductio ad absurdum in “The King of Sentences”; a hapless, horny outsider summoning bravado in “The Porn Critic”; characters from forgotten comics stranded on a desert island in “Their Back Pages.” As always in Lethem, humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, words find themselves misaligned to deeds, and the sentences are glorious.

New on the Shelves…

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

This came to The Shelves from my cousin, Ann. I love audiobooks and I think this will be particularly good to listen to: Life by Keith Richards:

lifeThe long-awaited autobiography of the guitarist, songwriter, singer, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Ladies and gentlemen: Keith Richards.

With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the songs that roused the world, and he lived the original rock and roll life. Now, at last, the man himself tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones’s first fame and the notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as an outlaw folk hero. Creating immortal riffs like the ones in “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women.” His relationship with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the U.S., isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Marriage, family, solo albums and Xpensive Winos, and the road that goes on forever.

With his trademark disarming honesty, Keith Richard brings us the story of a life we have all longed to know more of, unfettered, fearless, and true.

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Another great new novel – The Whites by Harry Brandt:

whitesThe electrifying tale of a New York City police detective under siege—by an unsolved murder, by his own dark past, and by a violent stalker seeking revenge.

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted berserker on a crowded street. Branded as a loose cannon by his higher-ups, Billy spent years enduring one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all post-midnight felonies from Wall Street to Harlem. Mostly, his unit acts as little more than a set-up crew for the incoming shift, but after years in police purgatory, Billy is content simply to do his job.

Then comes a call that changes everything: Night Watch is summoned to the four a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, and this time Billy’s investigation moves beyond the usual handoff to the day tour. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a twelve-year-old boy—a savage case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese—the bad old days are back in Billy’s life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family.

Razor-sharp and propulsively written, The Whites introduces Harry Brandt—a new master of American crime fiction.

New on the Shelves…

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

This one sounds interesting – a woman with an unusual background and a husband who may not be trustworthy. Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason:

mondayFrom the acclaimed author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Fullcomes a new thriller about a woman who digs into her unconventional past to confirm what she suspects: her husband isn’t what she thought he was.

Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life…a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.