Help us choose a book as the January 2013 eBook for the MobileRead Book Club. The poll will be open for 5 days. There will be no runoff vote unless the voting results a tie, in which case there will be a 3 day run-off poll between the two most popular choices. If there is a 3-way or more tie for first place, we will have a runoff poll with more than two choices. This is a visible vote: others can see how you voted. It is multiple-choice: you may cast a vote for each book that appeals to you.
We will start the discussion thread for this book on January 20th. Select from the following Official Choices from the past 11 months:
A missing little girl named Maggie Rose. A family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. The thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher. A psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who calls himself the Son of Lindbergh. He is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him-even after he's been captured.Gary Soneji is a mild-mannered mathematics teacher at a Washington, D.C., private school for the children of the political and social elite. He's so popular that the kids all call him "Mr. Chips." And he's very, very smart. Growing up, he always knew he was smarter than the rest of them-he knew that the Great Ones always fooled everybody. He kidnaps Maggie Rose, the golden-haired daughter of a famous movie actress, and her best friend, Shrimpie Goldberg, the son of the secretary of the treasury, right out from under the noses of their two Secret Service agents. But Gary Soneji is not surprised at his skill. He's done it before. Hundreds of times before.Alex Cross must face the ultimate test as a psychologist: how do you outmaneuver a brilliant psychopath? Especially one who appears to have a split personality-one who won't let the other half remember those horrific acts?Soneji has outsmarted the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police. Who will be his next victim?
eBook Description: "All the reality of a vividly realized nightmare," The Times of London wrote of John Wyndham's terrifying post-apocalyptic thriller Day of the Triffids, published in 1951. The novel is often labeled science fiction, but it might best be described as a completely unnerving fantasy, even at the distance of half a century- for nothing dates this story of a world rendered helpless by a frightening, unearthly phenomenon. Triffids are odd but interesting plants that seem to appear in everyone's garden. They are curiosities, but little more, until an event occurs that alters human life--what appears to be a meteor shower, spectacular at first, turns into a bizarre green inferno that has blinded virtually everyone and rendered humankind helpless. Even stranger, spores from the inferno have caused triffids to suddenly take on lives of their own--large, crawling vegetation that uproot themselves and roam about, attacking humans and inflicting agony. William Masen happened to escape being blinded in the green inferno--he was hospitalized with his eyes bandaged following surgery--and he is now one of the few humans left who can see, who can avoid being attacked by triffids, who might be able to save mankind from the chaos and possible extinction threatened by this cataclysm. Day of the Triffids is generally held to be John Wyndham's finest novel, and it was his first significant work. His style has been described aptly as "speculative fiction." The real power of Day of the Triffids is not in its pure invention but in its matter-of-fact depiction of bizarre phenomena occurring in the midst of day-to-day life. The narrative voice of William Masen is calm and reasoned throughout as he describes the ongoing nightmare and his attempt to prevail, recalling the struggle from an almost historical perspective. Wyndham tells a mesmerizing story in Day of the Triffids, one that has lost none of its quiet terror. (from Fictionwise)
A cadre of powerful Massachusetts politicians offers Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro big money for a small job: find the missing cleaning woman who allegedly stole confidential Statehouse documents. But there's much more to this crime than anyone realizes. What the woman was really after was justice -- and out on the Boston streets, the truth can turn stark and ugly...
This is it: the novel that introduces the newest sensation in detective fiction, Dennis Lehane, and a couple of gritty private investigators who grew up and grew tough in blue-collar Dorchester. Kenzie and Gennaro have opened their own agency from the belfry of a Boston church-and all manner of unholiness is crossing their threshold. Like it or not, they're headed for a deadly crossfire in a case that's not just about right and wrong -it's all-out war.
Here is the original--the gripping, utterly addictive book that gained an instant audience for its brilliant young author and his unforgettable heroes.
Grave Robbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) by Jeff Strand Inkmesh
Description: If you're desperate for money, searching for a little adventure, and aren't the most responsible person in the world, you can end up doing some outrageous things. Which is how Andrew Mayhem, an extremely married father of two, ends up accepting $20,000 to find a key...a key buried with a body in a shallow grave. When the body turns out to not only be still alive, but armed and dangerous, he realizes that he should have held out for more money. His simple evening of morally questionable manual labor becomes a bizarre game of wits and courage played with an unseen killer with a twisted sense of humor. It's a game that will bring him to a group of filmmakers known as Ghoulish Delights, who are hiding a secret that will test every last bit of Andrew's nerve to discover. And it's impossible to find a babysitter. (from CyberRead)
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future—a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world—all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.
Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome [The Terminator, Asawi, hpulley] Inkmesh search
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow is a collection of humorous essays by Jerome K. Jerome. The essays cover a range of topics from "On Being in Love" to "On Furnished Apartments" to "On Getting on in the World". Jerome established himself as one of England's favorite wits with his comic novel Three Men in a Boat.
The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany The Patricia Clark Memorial Library:Mobi / Lit / Lrf
Come with me now for awhile, for we have worlds of magic to explore, and the Land of Dreams is close at hand.
If you’re tired of fat, cheesy fantasy novels that really do stink, and you want to experience what Fantasy writing once was and could have been, before a few lame-brained idiot writers took Fantasy down a dark alley and stabbed it in the back, then you should read Lord Dunsany’s beautiful prose.
"A proper fantasy story would, of course, devote nine or so books to traveling very slowly through the elfish countryside, slowly accumulating plot tokens in order to complete the quest. Dunsany spends one chapter on this journey, then gets to the real point of his story, which is what happens when a girl from Elfland is forced to live in the mortal world, and what happens when the two worlds collide. It’s 1924, and already the good baron is overthrowing tired and worn out fantasy cliches. Lord Dunsany’s story has more in it of culture shock and the price of novelty than magic mcguffin hunting and evil overlord overthrowing.
"The prose itself is some of the finest and most magical in all of fantasy literature. It is like Tolkien without the idle sentiment, or like Lovecraft with a greater gift for language and more synonyms for “odd”. A brief sample should suffice:
"'Near the Castle of Erl there lived a lonely witch, on high land near the thunder, which used to roll in Summer along the hills. There she dwelt by herself in a narrow cottage of thatch and roamed the high fields alone to gather the thunderbolts. Of these thunderbolts, that had no earthly forging, were made, with suitable runes, such weapons as had to parry unearthly dangers.'
"Lord Dunsany’s prose can fairly be described as “oft-imitated”. It is the sound of fantasy. Rarely has it been surpassed."
This critic says this:
"Much of what we call modern fantasy is a pale, predictable mesh of cliches. It is a bookshelf filled with stories that bear far too much in common with one another. Sometimes indeed it feels that originality, which ought to be the cornerstone of fantasy seems to be all but evaporated. Lord Dunsay is - different. He is one of those illusive pre-Tolkien fantasy writers and you will be shocked at how much of modern fantasy derives from him. And then doubly shocked to find he still did it better. Lord Dunsay writes beautiful and elaborate prose. He weaves stories in which magic is not some work-a-day technology but rather a brooding, powerful and very nearly living force."
There is no better prose stylist who touched both the heart of Fantasy and the heart of the Reader.
Like all the books I assemble on MobileRead, this too was assembled to reflect human intervention and artistic judgment.
When this creepy-crawly suspense tale was originally published in the UK last year, the London Times called it "a classy potboiler . . . in the best traditions of Dickens and Collins (let alone Christie and Chandler)." There may be just a touch of hyperbole there, but the novel is certainly worthy of praise. The atmosphere is first-rate: Martin does a stunning job of bringing to life the era when steam locomotives chugged from London through the British countryside. And he intensifies by giving his hero, Jim Stringer, a job on one of those trains--not just any train but the one that carries bodies from London to burial on the city's outskirts. A refugee from the poverty of Yorkshire, Jim had been reduced to cleaning women's lavatories in railway stations before getting his big break and landing on the Necropolis Railway, where he endures hostile coworkers and working conditions only slightly better than those in the toilets. Even worse is his growing suspicion that a former worker may have met with foul play. The lurid tone and Jim's growing uneasiness lead to a supremely scary climax.
From goodreads: The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Description: From Content: "Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed. This was the page at which the favourite volume always opened: "ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL. "Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5, 1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791." Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth--"Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset," and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife. Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire; how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff, representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and motto:--"Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset," and Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:-- "Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of the second Sir Walter." Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion. His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to any thing deserved by his own. Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she was called on to quit them.--Three girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an awful charge rather, to confide to the authority and guidance of a conceited, silly father." (from CyberRead)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain Inkmesh search
Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012: How many introverts do you know? The real answer will probably surprise you. In our culture, which emphasizes group work from elementary school through the business world, everything seems geared toward extroverts. Luckily, introverts everywhere have a new spokesperson: Susan Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert who’s taken it upon herself to better understand the place of introverts in culture and society. With Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Cain explores introversion through psychological research old and new, personal experiences, and even brain chemistry, in an engaging and highly-readable fashion. By delving into introversion, Cain also seeks to find ways for introverts and extroverts to better understand one another--and for introverts to understand their own contradictions, such as the ability to act like extroverts in certain situations. Highly accessible and uplifting for any introvert--and any extrovert who knows an introvert (and over one-third of us are introverts)--Quiet has the potential to revolutionize the “extrovert ideal.” –Malissa Kent
(Provided by VioletVal)
Description: Amazon Exclusive: Q & A with Author Susan Cain Q: Why did you write the book? A: For the same reason that Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Introverts are to extroverts what women were to men at that time--second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent. Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should try to “pass” as extroverts. The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness. Q: What personal significance does the subject have for you? A: When I was in my twenties, I started practicing corporate law on Wall Street. At first I thought I was taking on an enormous challenge, because in my mind, the successful lawyer was comfortable in the spotlight, whereas I was introverted and occasionally shy. But I soon realized that my nature had a lot of advantages: I was good at building loyal alliances, one-on-one, behind the scenes; I could close my door, concentrate, and get the work done well; and like many introverts, I tended to ask a lot of questions and listen intently to the answers, which is an invaluable tool in negotiation. I started to realize that there’s a lot more going on here than the cultural stereotype of the introvert-as-unfortunate would have you believe. I had to know more, so I spent the past five years researching the powers of introversion. Q: Was there ever a time when American society valued introverts more highly? A: In the nation’s earlier years it was easier for introverts to earn respect. America once embodied what the cultural historian Warren Susman called a “Culture of Character,” which valued inner strength, integrity, and the good deeds you performed when no one was looking. You could cut an impressive figure by being quiet, reserved, and dignified. Abraham Lincoln was revered as a man who did not “offend by superiority,” as Emerson put it. Q: You discuss how we can better embrace introverts in the workplace. Can you explain? A: Introverts thrive in environments that are not overstimulating—surroundings in which they can think (deeply) before they speak. This has many implications. Here are two to consider: (1) Introverts perform best in quiet, private workspaces—but unfortunately we’re trending in precisely the opposite direction, toward open-plan offices. (2) If you want to get the best of all your employees’ brains, don’t simply throw them into a meeting and assume you’re hearing everyone’s ideas. You’re not; you’re hearing from the most vocally assertive people. Ask people to put their ideas in writing before the meeting, and make sure you give everyone time to speak. Q: Quiet offers some terrific insights for the parents of introverted children. What environment do introverted kids need in order to thrive, whether it’s at home or at school? A: The best thing parents and teachers can do for introverted kids is to treasure them for who they are, and encourage their passions. This means: (1) Giving them the space they need. If they need to recharge alone in their room after school instead of plunging into extracurricular activities, that’s okay. (2) Letting them master new skills at their own pace. If they’re not learning to swim in group settings, for example, teach them privately. (3) Not calling them “shy”--they’ll believe the label and experience their nervousness as a fixed trait rather than an emotion they can learn to control. Q: What are the advantages to being an introvert? A: There are too many to list in this short space, but here are two seemingly contradictory qualities that benefit introverts: introverts like to be alone--and introverts enjoy being cooperative. Studies suggest that many of the most creative people are introverts, and this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires. On the other hand, implementing good ideas requires cooperation, and introverts are more likely to prefer cooperative environments, while extroverts favor competitive ones. “A superbly researched, deeply insightful, and fascinating book that will change forever the way society views introverts .” — Gretchen Rubin , author of The Happiness Project “ Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm . In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture's overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light .” — Naomi Wolf , author of The Beauty Myth “Think Malcolm Gladwell for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller.” — Guy Kawasaki , author of Enchantment “Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research. . . . This book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts. ” — Elaine Aron , author of The Highly Sensitive Person From the Hardcover edition. (from Amazon.com)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson Inkmesh
Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, "...how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.“Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between... brims with strange and amazing facts... destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” THE NEW YORK TIMES“Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science.” PEOPLE“Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent... a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story.” SEATTLE TIMES“Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable.” SIMON WINCHESTER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL“All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations.” NATIONAL POST"Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.” OTTAWA CITIZEN“Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (from CyberRead)
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John's posting of the Library Availability for each of these books can be found in post #8.