Wednesday

[books] BookPage is wicked good this month.

Ooo ooo ooo. The new February issue of BookPage is just the thing I needed to cheer me up. At the top of my list of Most Anticipated books is A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. If you haven't read The Sparrow and it's follow-up, Children of God, you should. It's amazing drama, mixed with amazing sci-fi. The books reminded me of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy.

So considering how well Russell blended theology, philosophy and science fiction in her previous works, I have to say I'm a little hesitant about picking up A Thread of Grace, which "chronicles the Italian resistance to the Germans during the last two years of WWII." But... I just have to get it. I've been waiting too long to read something by her again.

Murakami has a new book out, entitled Kafka on the Shore. "It describes two parallel odysseys across space and time (literally), linked by a strange, ambiguous pop tune written by one of the book's mysterious characters. Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old runaway, struggles to dodge an Oedipal fate; simultaneously, Nagata, an illiterate old man who can talk to cats, searches for an all-powerful stone. The two stories link neatly- and yet Murakami makes sure we are never entirely confident in their connection." Enough said.

Under the subject of 'Travel' we have Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with his Son by Peter Carey (True History of the Kelley Gang, My Life as a Fake). As a fangirl of manga and anime, I have to read this.

Before leaving the realm of Japan, it might be worth mentioning that I got a couple books for a friend of mine for his birthday recently. There was Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase and a new one by a female Japanese author. A woman. I don't hear about too many female Japanese authors, or... like, at all. It's called Out and the author, Natsuo Kirino, won Japans top mystery award for it. "When Yayoi, the youngest and prettiest of the women, strangles her philandering gambler husband with his own belt in an explosion of rage, she turns instinctively for help to her co-worker Masako, an older and wiser woman whose own family life has fallen apart in less dramatic fashion. To help her cut up and get rid of the dead body, Masako recruits Yoshie and Kuniko, two fellow factory workers caught up in other kinds of domestic traps." Yes, okay now there's a story I'd enjoy.... [Note to friend:] You are so lucky I didn't keep these books for myself!!!!!

This being Black History Month, might I suggest My Jim by Nancy Rawles: "Readers of Huckleberry Finn might remember the scene where Jim, the runaway slave, breaks down in tears because he's worried about the wife and children he's left behind. The poignant scene forces Huck to acknowledge Jim's humanity. Now novelist and playwright Nancy Rawles has written a slender but wrenching novel about Sadie, the hapless wife Jim was forced to abandon." Interesting, interesting. I like these kinds of stories, where you get a behind-the-scenes/paradigm-shifting look at a story you know so well. I think Gregory Maguire did this really well with Wicked.

In children's books we have The Time Hackers by Gary Paulson. "The future world depicted by Gary Paulsen in The Time Hackers is one in which time projections are a reality. Students are used to seeing and using holographic images in their studies. Dorso knows, for example, that Cleopatra wasn't especially pretty, Shakespeare had bad teeth and the bad habit of picking them with his pen, and John Wilkes Booth looked like a drugged ferret. But these were only images brought forward in time; everyone accepts the paradox that one cannot go back in time or affect time. You could not go back in time and kill your ancestor, for example, because that would mean you wouldn't exist to be able to go back in time to kill your ancestor. It turns out that extreme gamesters have discovered how to cheat the time paradox and tap into the time line, and things from the past have begun appearing in the present." So Dorso, upset over his parents' impending divorce, takes his trusty hatchet to the wilderness of time and goes back to the night he was conceived. He manages to kill only one of his parents before he disappears... But which one was it? You're gonna have to read it to find out.

And the last one I'll mention is under Cooking. Cover & Bake by The Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I love me some casseroles, for real. Macaroni and Cheese? Hells yeah. Tuna Noodle Casserole? I love Tuna Noodle Casserole. Shepherd's Pie? Mmmmm. And you get a free issue of the magazine when you order from Amazon. But the book apparently isn't on sale. Maybe Overstock has it...

1 comment:

buzz girl said...

Ran across your post and wanted to say thanks for the kind words about BookPage! I blog for them here. It's nice to hear that people enjoy it.