Books We Love September 2013
I’m doubting any of you read this post so closely to have even noticed the egregious lateness… but if for some happenstance you are that one person – we apologize. You also probably aren’t very interested in hearing that we somehow lost our collective list of literary greatness. It was a minor oversight on our part that we were keeping it in a single location… and then when the single location vanished… voila – we began to wander about like the Israelites in the desert for good on 40 years.
We have also been meaning to make this column less of a list and more of a conversation. So now we are conversing more and telling less. Hi. Good to see you. We are glad you are here. Or some such non-sense anyway. Regardless of the format and of the data loss, we have continued our prodigious reading habits of the past. So we aren’t lacking in things to converse about, that is for sure.
Probably the most exciting book we’ve encountered, with the most potential is, Night Film by Pessl. Granted, we only started this book last night (having been out over two weeks already) and we are wondering why we were so asleep at the switch.
This book is House of Leaves. This book is Infinite Jest. This book is scary. This book is action. It is multimedia web clippings and images. There is absolutely nothing here for Books We Love to not love. We may even take our time reading this one its so dang good. The book centers around an illusive avant-garde film maker who’s daughter apparently committed suicide. An investigative journalist who has been completely discredited by his obsessive hunt for this auteur begins to pick up the trail in order to figure out what really happened.
For some odd reason we have continued to gravitate to Science Fiction of late. And while we have enjoyed a few killer books like Wool and The Twelve and Brilliance… the huge winners have sort of tapered off on us. Its like riding a stock too long and suddenly realizing your trend for winning has changed to losing. But even so, there are a number of fascinating reads out there still. [pullquote] A few fantastic Sci-Fi reads would be Lexicon and The Fifth Wave. Both are innovative and exciting.[/pullquote] We have recommended these two books to a number of hardcore and non-hardcore (normal) sci-fi fans and they have all loved them both. Our personal favorite is Lexicon – but both are worth a look especially if you are a Sci-Fi fan. Obviously if you didn’t see the list of Sci-Fi brilliance we recommended last month, do review that list as well. Brilliance being the most obvious item in that list.
The final Science Fiction item of note for this month is Wool’s final installment in the trilogy. At first we were given Wool (omnibus) which introduced us to the Silos and the world under the ground that survived the apocalypse. Next we Howey gave us Shift that told the story of how the silos were originally thought up and developed. And finally, last month, we were given Dust that takes us back to the Silos and the future. This latest book returns us to our favorite characters from Wool and the meat of the saga. Which, we’ll be honest, we seriously missed in Shift. So if you enjoyed Wool and are curious how the story wraps up? Then Dust is a must read. And if you haven’t read Wool yet, gah!? We are done here.
Years ago there was a book called A Million Little Pieces… yes? Do you remember it and the amazing way it turned the publishing industry on its head until that is, it was discovered to be a fake? Right. We think the next book is in that same sort of category. Minus the fake bit. Orange is the New Black is a legit Million Little Pieces… if we can say that.
This book even comes with a blurb by Eggers… one of our favorite authors of all time. We read it even before it had officially been published or pushed by the uber illiterate amongst us and we were smitten. Graduate from Brown goes to prison for drug smuggling? What is there not to love? We knew going in what it was about and still we were rooting for Kerman not to get caught. So if you dug those Million Little Pieces book spin offs and derivatives this will knock you out of your chair. [pullquote]Especially since we read it from a 45 degree angle of “I CAN’T WATCH, I CAN’T NOT WATCH” vantage.[/pullquote]
This next book by Tannet might not be for everyone. But if it isn’t for you we will officially think less of you than we did moments ago. The Art Forger is almost technical art primer on the intricacies of painting, its techniques, and the worlds within worlds of the art forger. Glazes? Lacquer? Overpainting? Underpainting? Turpentine? If we didn’t just set your brain atwitter then you might want to just pass on this art heist thriller. Even though there is an amazing story here, we would say that more than HALF of the book is dedicated to the detailed techniques of the Grand Masters and so you might find it hard to swallow even though the thriller-esque-ness of it will push you forward. We enjoyed it very much. But we have also enjoyed viewing many of the referenced grand master’s works in this novel up close and personally.
In a bucket of, “what the heck do we do with this”? we have a pile of other books. Our Cull Pile if you will. Tannet’s Thinking In Numbers was a gorgeously written book in English Words. The only way it could have been better if the numbers could have been described in numbers instead. Not sure that exactly made sense on paper. It made sense in our head anyway.
Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy was a fun read for those of you interested in the Civil War. Junius Browne and Albert Richardson covered the Civil War for the New York Tribune until Confederates captured them as they tried to sneak past Vicksburg on a hay barge.Shuffled from one Rebel prison to another, they escaped and trekked across the snow-covered Appalachians with the help of slaves and pro-Union bushwhackers. Their amazing, long-forgotten odyssey is one of the great escape stories in American history, packed with drama, courage, horrors and heroics, plus moments of antic comedy. We had a hard time getting a hold of this book but once we did, we really enjoyed it.
The energy of Slaves – by Andrew Nikiforuk is an eye opening book. Here’s the blurb from Amazon: “Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world’s most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery’s ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion.” Nikiforuk then goes on to call on the world to move to a morally tenable energy source as opposed to our current frame of mind which is for endless energy at ever lower costs.
Books we will love definitely have to include Stephen’s King’s Doctor Sleep which we’ve mentioned every month for the last 3 months. But its finally here on the 24th. We will also be given a new Eggers’ book entitled The Circle which is the story of a Tech Startup very similar to the Google. It appears to be a thinking man’s thriller that questions our obsession with online presence and what is even knowable. Definitely looks like a must read. And then finally S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Orst which is due out on October 29th. We detailed out our excitement here about the possibilities with this particular book. Can’t wait. Alright. That does it for this month. Keep reading.