Friday, January 31, 2014

:: i'll be starting february with a few of these... ::

We made it through January! I only fell once and I was wearing a puffy coat and the snow was freshly fallen and I wasn't holding my iPhone, so it's kind of like it didn't happen. And now on to February, which can be the coldest and cruelest month. May I suggest the following book selections. I'll be digging through them myself. From my sofa, my bed, the subway...

To the weekend!


Kids These Days: Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free--in Alice’s deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice’s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn’t know--about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid’s shady dealings, about what he’s really supposed to be doing--far outweighs what he does know. And soon enough, things escalate so out of control that Walter is riding shotgun with Mid in a bright yellow Camaro--chased by the police. Drew Perry paints a landscape of weird and beautiful Florida and its inhabitants--all wholly original and hilarious, and utterly believable. And at the center is a portrait of a father-to-be who is paralyzed by the idea of taking responsibility for another human life when he can’t seem to manage his own. Kids These Days takes perfect aim at the two sides of impending fatherhood--abject terror and unconditional love.

The Goldfinch: Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. It is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Blood Will Out: In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn—then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage—set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer. Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend’s murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew—a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself. Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.

Shovel Ready: Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman. In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets.  His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal.  He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s handy with a box cutter.  But when his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, his unadorned life is upended: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has a sordid agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan must navigate between these two worlds the wasteland reality and the slick fantasyto finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground. Adam Sternbergh has written a dynamite debut: gritty, violent, funny, riveting, tender, and brilliant. 

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual. At once laugh-out-loud funny about the absurdities of the modern world, and indelibly profound about the eternal questions of the meaning of life, love and truth, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is a deeply moving and constantly surprising tour de force.

Frog Music: Emma Donoghue's explosive new novel, based on an unsolved murder in 1876 San Francisco. The city is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue's lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other.
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10 comments:

  1. I know a few people reading Goldfinch right now - I'd love to know how you like it! I'm reading Sarah's Key.

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    1. have you read her other stuff? they're both amazing. this one's a whopper...i can't wait to get my hands on it!

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  2. I have several of these on my to read list as well. I have high hopes for Frog Music!

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    1. did you read her book "room"? AMAZING.

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  3. Replies
    1. yay for laying in bed and reading novels! ;)

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  4. Thanks for these! I just got a Kindle and it's so weird not to go to a library to pick out books - so these are perfect! You have great book taste.

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    1. thanks! i must admit, despite the kindle, i still like to have a book actually in my hands and turn the pages. i try to do half and half :)

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  5. Books are my obsession....these look excellent! I'll be adding a few of them to my list.

    Erika

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    1. right now i'm reading "apple tree yard" and i can't put it down...put that on your list, too!!

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