Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Books Arriving October 2010

This October new books are arriving from a number of popular authors.  Holiday gift giving, anyone?

Robert B. Parker (He's dead. How many more books can there be?)

Vince Flynn

Elmore Leonard

John Grisham

Lee Child

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What to Read Next: "The Thieves of Manhattan" by Adam Langer.

The workings of the mind are strange:  Facts and fiction blur together, sometimes intentionally and sometimes accidentally.  Earlier this month, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused of stealing lines that appear in his new memoir from a 2006 movie, The Queen, Hollywood's fictional dramatization of the same events Blair covers in his book.

What happened to Blair was likely accident; the mind, busy assembling bits of information, incorrectly categorizing what was witnessed first hand with what was witnessed only on video.  In contrast to Blair, author James Frey acknowledged that he fabricated details in his memoir, A Million Little Pieces.
Authors who intend to deceive, who publish fiction but call it fact and memoir, are at the core of The Thieves of Manhattan.  The main character is Ian Minot, a struggling young writer in New York.  Struggling so long, in fact, that he fears success will not arrive for him.  Ian is also frustrated with seeing the success of authors he believes to be phonies.  Nonetheless, when Ian finds himself low on cash and desperate, he soon agrees to get involved in a strange project:  Authoring a fake memoir.

At this point, The Thieves of Manhattan begins to transform from a quirky but seemingly straightforward read into an increasingly wild story.  Midway through the book, as events whirl around Ian, I actually felt my own stomach drop, and several times thought 'uh-oh', followed shortly by 'oh, no!'  This novel about truth and art, authors, writing and publishing, morphs into a thriller with a hard-boiled edge to it.  Even one of the story's devices, the somewhat irritating slang used by the main character, actually helps to create a noir atmosphere (be advised that there is a glossary in the back of the book to help sort out Ian's slang).

There are many surprises throughout the course of this book.  Events that you initially label as either 'truth' or 'lie' don't stay neatly in their category.  And that's okay because The Thieves of Manhattan is interesting, clever  - - and it is fiction.    I recommend you read it.

And that's the truth.   

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Thieves of Manhattan. Manhattan. NYC. The Big Apple. An apple. Adam and Eve.  Original sin.  Corruption.  Lies. Truth.  The Thieves of Manhattan.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Novels of Mystery, Murder and Suspense: A Good Series of Books from Chris Grabenstein.

Mysterious happenings occur on the Atlantic coastline in Chris Grabenstein's John Ceepak novels.

If you are a fan of mystery books and looking for a light, humorous series that also offers suspense, check out Chris Grabenstein's books featuring Police Officer John Ceepak.  Ceepak - a straight-arrow, Joe Friday-type - and his partner, Danny Boyle solve crimes and capers in Sea Haven, New Jersey.  Sea Haven, whose economy is based on tourism, has a surprising number of murders . . . still, it is New Jersey.

There is much mayhem, and entertainment, in this clever series of mystery books. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Waiter. . .

The wind was blowing and the leaves were flying when the dogs and I mosied out to get the newspapers this morning.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do you read more than one book at a time?

Do you read just one book until is finished, or do you have multiple books going at a time?  Right now I'm bouncing around between three books:

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures

The Thieves of Manhattan: A Novel

Whack A Mole: A John Ceepak Mystery

Of the three, there is no 'clear winner' with respect to grabbing my attention.  Still, I'm enjoying all of them too much to consider throwing any one overboard.

In contrast, I was not able to get all the way through The Twin (Rainmaker Translations)without resorting to skimming.  Although The Twin is a good story, and I thought about it a great deal when I wasn't reading it, I didn't have the patience for it.  This probably reflects more upon me than the quality of the novel.

The Twin is the story of a farmer whose twin brother died when they were young adults.  Now the farmer is an old man, caring for (or more accurately, not taking care of) his elderly father.  If fiction falls roughly into two categories, either an escape from reality or a look at the human condition, The Twin falls into the second.   If you are feeling calm and reflective, pick it up.  It might also be a good book for a book club selection as it presents many points for discussion about self-knowledge and how we elect to live our lives.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Keith Richards Autobiography Available in October.

This October Keith Richards, Rolling Stones co-founder and guitarist, is publishing his autobiography, Life.  

Life might be an interesting read.  The Rolling Stones certainly influenced 20th century youth culture and Mr. Richards, who turns 67 this December, appears to have lived his life to the fullest.  While the Stones music has too much of a misogynistic streak in their music for my taste, I'm going to check out what Mr. Richards has to say.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is the 2010-2011 Reading Project for the University of Wisconsin's Big Read.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the book selection for the second year of Big Read, the University of Wisconsin common reading program.  University Chancellor Biddy Martin said that this year's book ". . . raises complex issues involving science, ethics, poverty, racism, ownership rights and the law."  These issues, as Martin correctly states, are worthy of discussion.

I'm looking forward to reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and participating in the conversation.  Events in the Madison, Wisconsin, area begin this September.   If you are interested in participating, or in reading the book on your own or with your book club, check out these links:

Book Information

Book Discussion Toolkit

Go Big Read Home Page

Last year's selection for the Big Read program was Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tin House

I'm having trouble getting fully engaged in any of the books I've started reading recently.  Fortunately, a new issue of Tin House arrived in the mail.  Good stuff . . .