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Mon January 01 2018

Nominations for February 2018 • A Rainbow of Reading

08:00 PM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs


Happy New Year and Happy New Leaf Book Club!

Help us select the first book that the New Leaf Book Club will read, for February 2018. The theme is A Rainbow of Reading: books with color-full associations.

The nominations will run through 6 AM EST January 8, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for five days. The discussion of the selection will start on February 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the final selection of the MR Club, Whose Body?, on January 15.

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations each:

Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom Holt
Kindle | Kobo | OverDrive

Spoiler:

From Amazon:

There are many reasons why British summers are either non-existent or, alternatively, held on a Thursday. Many of these reasons are either scientific, mad, or both-but all of them are wrong, especially the scientific ones. The real reason why it rains perpetually from January 1st to December 31st is, of course, irritable Chinese Water Dragons. Karen is one such legendary creature. Ancient, noble, nearly indestructible and, for a number of wildly improbable reasons, working as a real estate agent, Karen is irritable quite a lot of the time. But now things have changed, and Karen's no longer irritable. She's furious.

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen
Length: 202 pages.
AmazonUS: $7.99 | AmazonUK: £3.99 | KoboUK: £3.99

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Dave Brandstetter stands alongside Philip Marlow, Sam Spade and Lew Archer as one of the best fictional PIs in the business. Like them, he was tough, determined, and ruthless when the case demanded it. Unlike them, he was gay.

Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.

In Fadeout, Dave is sent to investigate the death of radio personality Fox Olsen. His car is found crashed in a dry river bed. But there is no body - and as Dave looks deeper into his life, it seems as though he had good reasons to disappear.

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Kindle: $0.99 | Kobo

Spoiler:

Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, Carol tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. Carol is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.

The novel was also adapted in 2015 for the film Carol, directed by Todd Haynes.

Passing by Nella Larsen
Kindle | Kobo

Spoiler:

"Absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable.--Alice Walker.
"A work so fine, sensitive, and distinguished that it rises above race categories and becomes that rare object, a good novel."--*The Saturday Review of Literature*

Married to a successful physician and prominently ensconced in Harlem's vibrant society of the 1920s, Irene Redfield leads a charmed existence-until she is shaken out of it by a chance encounter with a childhood friend who has been "passing for white."

An important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen was the first African-American woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Her fictional portraits of women seeking their identities through a fog of racial confusion were informed by her own Danish-West Indian parentage, and Passing offers fascinating psychological insights into issues of race and gender. (From Kobo.)

Rainbows End: A Novel with One Foot in the Future by Vernor Vinge
Overdrive | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Amazon US |Amazon UK

Spoiler:

Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he's starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts. Living with his son's family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access—through nodes designed into smart clothes—and to see the digital context—through smart contact lenses.

With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination.

In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert's son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot.

As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected.

The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes
Amazon UK | Amazon US |Kobo UK | Kobo US | Overdrive (under the alternate title "The Furies")

Spoiler:
Description from Goodreads:

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her...

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Amazon | Kobo

Spoiler:

From Goodreads:

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

Goodreads

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Kindle | Kobo | OverDrive

Spoiler:

In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
PCML: ePub

Spoiler:

With his round face, pipe and umbrella, the shambling, bespectacled priest Father Brown is an unlikely detective - yet his innocent air hides a razor-sharp understanding of the criminal mind. As this first volume of his adventures shows, the wise, worldly clerical sleuth has an uncanny ability to bring even the most elusive wrongdoer to justice.

The Crimson Chalice by Victor Canning
Amazon US | Kobo

Spoiler:
From me:

The Crimson Chalice is the first book of a trilogy in which Victor Canning retells the legend of King Arthur. This is a tale set in the Dark Ages. The Romans are almost gone, driven out of Britain, and the tribes are warring among themselves for the spoils.

A young Roman woman, Tia, finds Baradoc with his wrists and ankles bound and left to die. The man is guarded by his dogs and also a raven. Tia cuts down the young man and hides him as he recovers. Tia is escaping from her home after the servants revolted and killed everyone else. Baradoc is the son of a chief of a distant tribe, he is returning after the death of his master (he had been a slave for a time). Obliged to Tia, Baradoc says he will escort her to her uncle's villa.

I like the dark and primitive feel to this story - particularly in this first book. It makes the experience quite different from other variations of this story.

Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
Kindle | Kobo: $4.99 | OverDrive

Spoiler:
It was the Amazon Best Book of February 2016, a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction and winner of the American Book Award in 2017.

From Goodreads:

A stunning story of love, betrayal, and family, set against the backdrop of a changing Taiwan over the course of the twentieth century.

February 28, 1947: Trapped inside the family home amid an uprising that has rocked Taipei, Dr. Tsai delivers his youngest daughter, the unnamed narrator of Green Island, just after midnight as the city is plunged into martial law. In the following weeks, as the Chinese Nationalists act to crush the opposition, Dr. Tsai becomes one of the many thousands of people dragged away from their families and thrown into prison. His return, after more than a decade, is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community — conflicts that loom over the growing bond he forms with his youngest daughter. Years later, this troubled past follows her to the United States, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family — the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before.

As the novel sweeps across six decades and two continents, the life of the narrator shadows the course of Taiwan’s history from the end of Japanese colonial rule to the decades under martial law and, finally, to Taiwan’s transformation into a democracy. But, above all, Green Island is a lush and lyrical story of a family and a nation grappling with the nuances of complicity and survival, raising the question: how far would you be willing to go for the ones you love?

Colours (Earth Incorporated #1) by Adrian J. Walker
Kindle: $0.99
| Kobo: $0.99 | Amazon UK: £0.99

Spoiler:
From Goodreads

People used to live in places called countries. They raised flags and elected governments to rule them. They had a nationality.

But that was a long time ago.

The words ’nation’ and ‘government’ are relics, things of the past. It has been centuries since the last tattered flag was raised.

Now, the world is dominated by corporations and the people that live within their vast, protective shells are the lucky employees. The less fortunate, the consumers, live outside in the Hoards.

Leafen is one such corporation, a technology giant famous for its Fronds - genetic implants that connect users to a vast social network. And for Leafen's 40 million employees, turning sixteen is a very special day. This is the day of their Colours - the personality grading test that will guide their behaviour...

[ 108 replies ]


Wed December 27 2017

Book Club December 2017 Discussion: Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll (spoilers)

10:41 AM by WT Sharpe in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs

The time has come to discuss the December 2017 MobileRead Book Club selection, Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll. What did you think?

[ 85 replies ]


Sun December 24 2017

What were your favorite books of 2017?

03:14 PM by Dazrin in E-Book General | Reading Recommendations

It's that time of year again, we are preparing for the holidays and working on our MR New Year's resolutions which means we should take a few minutes and reflect on this last year.

Unlike with children it's ok to have favorites here, so ...

What books did you enjoy the most in 2017?

Did that new Lee Child book really knock your socks off?
What books are you still reflecting on?
What books will become annual favorites?
What book kept you up long enough that it was time to get up?

What books were published in 2017 that really stood out to you?

Any contenders for your favorite literary award?
What would you have in a hypothetical MR slate for the Hugos?

Help the rest of us fill in our TBR list list for 2018. If your goal is to reduce your TBR list in 2018 go ahead and add them now so they don't count against you then. I mean, isn't setting that sort of a goal right now kinda like starting a diet right before Thanksgiving?

I know the year isn't quite over but this thread will still be open when it is if you find another favorite in the next few weeks.

And for future reference, a couple years ago issybird mentioned a great way to track which books you might like to post next year.

If you want to see what some of the past favorites are check these out:
2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

[ 66 replies ]


Sun December 17 2017

On the Makaloa Mat by Jack London

02:31 PM by sun surfer in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs

Also known as Island Tales or On the Makaloa Mat and Other Island Tales

'Published posthumously, this collection of seven short stories and sketches creates a fascinating portrait of life on the picturesque Hawaiian Islands. Brimming with vivid descriptions of the sea and forest, these tales examine the lives of an array of characters and the effect upon them of their contact with Western civilization.'

Goodreads


This is the MR Literary Club selection for December 2017. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?

[ 10 replies ]


Sat December 09 2017

MobileRead Week in Review: 12/02 - 12/09

07:00 AM by Alexander Turcic in Miscellaneous | Week in Review

What was going on this week at MobileRead? Here's your chance to catch-up if you missed something!

E-Book General - Reading Recommendations


Wed December 06 2017

The 2018 Annual Reading Challenge List Thread

02:51 PM by pdurrant in E-Book General | Reading Recommendations

2018 Reading Challenge List Thread

Welcome to our 9th Annual Reading Challenge!

The Annual Reading Challenge is neither a race, contest, nor an "exclusive club", anyone can join! This is just a fun activity that some of us have enjoyed doing in the past. Many of us have found reading challenges to be an entertaining way to set goals for ourselves, get ideas for books, and see what others are reading.

This thread is for you to keep a running tally for your chosen challenge. Please state your goals at the top of your post (in the title line if you can), and then start your list in the body of your post. As you read books, edit your post to update your list of books read, or other challenge status.

Please Remember: No discussion posts in this thread. Please use the other thread for that. Non-List posts will be deleted or moved to the other thread.

Discussions & Ideas can be found here:


Post #2 of this thread is dedicated to a Table of Contents for all participants in this thread. Names will be added, to this TOC, in alphabetical order with a link to that individual’s post number from this thread.

Previous threads were for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

[ 44 replies ]


Sat December 02 2017

sun surfer Vote • December 2017

10:44 AM by sun surfer in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in December 2017!

The options this month are courtesy of our rotating nominator, sun surfer (me).


Voting will run for four days. The vote will close exactly four days from this; even if the final tally doesn't occur immediately after voting closes, no votes made after that time will count.

Votes will be made by post. Each person has FIFTEEN(!) votes to use.

You may give each nominee one or two (or no) votes. You may vote all at once in one post or vote in separate posts at different times, so long as you have more votes remaining to cast. You may use any number of your possible votes up to the maximum. Any extraneous votes per person (past their maximum or more than two for one nominee) won't count. Votes cannot be changed once they are cast.

The rotating nominator may not vote. Once voting is complete, the count will be tallied and a winner declared. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off vote, also in this thread. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved by the nominator.

We hope that you will read the selection with the club and join in the discussion.


*

Initial voting is closed. Run-off voting is closed. Final results-

  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
    Post / Goodreads / 357 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan
    Post / Goodreads / 376 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
    Post / Goodreads / 268 Pages / Votes- 0

  • The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
    Post / Goodreads / 246 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Family Chronicle by Vasco Pratolini
    Post / Goodreads / 121 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Home Fires Burning by Georgina Lee
    Post / Goodreads / 312 Pages / Votes- 0

  • If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
    Post / Goodreads / 255 Pages / Votes- 0

  • The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
    Post / Goodreads / 294 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Island Tales (aka On the Makaloa Mat) by Jack London
    Post / Goodreads / 142 Pages / Votes- 2 / Run-off- 2

  • Job by Joseph Roth
    Post / Goodreads / 226 Pages / Votes- 2 / Run-off- 0

  • Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa
    Post / Goodreads / 307 Pages / Votes- 0

  • The Mystic Masseur by V.S. Naipaul
    Post / Goodreads / 216 Pages / Votes- 2 / Run-off- 0

  • No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym
    Post / Goodreads / 267 Pages / Votes- 0

  • The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
    Post / Goodreads / 284 Pages / Votes- 0

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
    Post / Goodreads / 215 Pages / Votes- 2 / Run-off- 0

  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
    Post / Goodreads / 528 Pages / Votes- 2 / Run-off- 0

[ 9 replies ]


January 2018 Second Chance Vote

09:51 AM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs

MobileRead Book Club
January 2018
VOTE

*** Special thanks to Dazrin for providing the list of runner-up titles! ***

Help us select the next book that the MobileRead Book Club will read for January, 2018.

Book selection category for January is:

Second Chance

There will be no nominations this month. The way Second Chance works is that the poll will be comprised of selections that either came in second place or tied for second place during the previous 11 months. The discussion will start January 20, 2018.

The poll will be open for 7 days since it's earlier than usual, in response to requests to facilitate library borrowing. If the voting results a tie, there will be a 3 day run-off poll. This is a visible poll: others can see how you voted. It is You may cast a vote for each book that appeals to you. Here are the selections you will be considering:

2017 runner up choices:
February: Mystery
Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2) by Ben Aaronovitch
Goodreads | Overdrive
Print Length: 396 pages

Spoiler:
The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.


Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon #1) by Nevada Barr
Goodreads | Amazon US / Audible / Kobo US / Overdrive
Print Length: 245 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

The fascinating hero of Nevada Barr’s award-winning series—park ranger Anna Pigeon—has brought an unyielding love of nature and sense of fair play to the mystery genre. Track of the Cat is the acclaimed novel that first introduced readers to Anna, as a woman looking for peace in the wilderness—and finding murder instead…

Patrolling the remote West Texas backcountry, Anna’s first job as a national park ranger is marred by violence she thought she had left behind: the brutal death of a fellow ranger. When the cause of death is chalked up to a mountain lion attack, Anna’s rage knows no bounds. It’s up to her to save the protected cats from the politics and prejudices of the locals—and prove the kill was the work of a species far less rare…

From Goodreads:

Anna Pigeon fled the turmoil of New York to become a national park ranger, only to discover she hasn't escaped murder and violence. When a colleague is killed, claw marks on the victim's throat and paw prints around the body are too perfect to be those of an alleged killer mountain lion.

From Audible:

Publisher's Summary

From the vivid opening vista, high in craggy mountains, to the final haunting glimpse of a moonlit canyon, Nevada Barr's first mystery, Track of the Cat, instantly caught the attention of readers and reviewers. Its popularity gained it both an Agatha and an Anthony Award.
The young naturalist, Anna Pigeon, has moved to the Southwest wilderness to be a park ranger. There, her days are filled with the physical demands of working in the Guadalupe Mountains and the satisfaction of living in this splendid land. Her peace is shattered one morning, though, when she discovers the body of another ranger deep in Dog Canyon. How did the usually cautious woman die? Although at first the evidence indicates an attack by a mountain lion, Anna soon suspects that there are craftier predators afoot in the wild grasses.
Fast-paced suspense and sharply defined characters will immediately sweep you up in the force of this compelling mystery. By the end, you'll be nodding in satisfaction at the final twist and anticipating the next book in the Anna Pigeon series. Narrator Barbara Rosenblat's performance highlights Anna's savvy courage and determination to catch her prey.


March: Patricia Clarke Memorial Library
Lardner on the Loose (collected short fiction) by Ring Lardner
Kindle epub
Spoiler:
Ring Lardner was an American sports columnist and short story writer best known for his satirical writings about sports, marriage, and the theatre. He was a contemporary of Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald, all of whom professed strong admiration for his writing.

In 1916, Lardner published his first successful book, You Know Me Al, an epistolary novel written in the form of letters from “Jack Keefe”, a bush-league baseball player, to a friend back home. The letters made much use of the fictional author’s idiosyncratic vernacular, with semi-literate grammar and phonetic spelling. Like most of Lardner’s stories, You Know Me Al employs satire, in this case to show the stupidity and avarice of a certain type of athlete. Until 1920, Lardner continued to write follow-up stories about Jack Keefe, some of which were collected in the books Treat ‘Em Rough and The Real Dope, narrating Jack’s Army experiences in World War I.

Lardner later published such stories as “Haircut”, “Some Like Them Cold”, “The Golden Honeymoon”, “Alibi Ike”, “A Day with Conrad Green”, and dozens more. Sometimes narrated by a “wise boob”, with slyly satirical commentary on manners and morals (The Big Town), sometimes taking a poignant view (“Now and Then”, “Old Folk’s Christmas”), sometimes sliding into sheer noir (“Champion”), always entertaining. His frequent use of vernacular influenced sports fiction writing for generations to come.


Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Kindle
Spoiler:
The most well-known and well-liked of Gaskell's works, this softly humorous picture of an English country village was first serialized in a magazine edited by Charles Dickens in 1851. Based on the village of Gaskell's childhood, "Cranford" is narrated by a young woman visiting the town who describes the genteel poverty of two middle-aged spinster sisters, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah. Gaskell tells of their little adventures in a confidential and almost chatty tone, perfectly conveying their habits and standards of propriety, decency, and kindness in reduced circumstances. The colorful characters and subtle class distinctions of the village of Cranford are captured in this compassionate and hopeful portrayal of small-town English life.

and from a Goodreads review:
the humor is so sly. at times it's difficult to believe that this was written over 150 years ago. I guess that gentle social humor has always been with us.


The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
Kindle Audible
Spoiler:
John Galsworthy (1867-1933) devoted virtually his entire professional career to creating a fictional but entirely representative family of propertied Victorians: the Forsytes. He made their lives and times, loves and losses, fortunes and deaths so real that readers accused him of including as characters in his drama real individuals whom they knew. He was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932.

The entire saga comprises three trilogies of books, of which this is the first. The other two ("A Modern Comedy" and "End of the Chapter") are available as separate downloads.

This first trilogy, "The Forsyte Saga", chronicles the life of three generations of the Forsyte family, a wealthy upper middle class English family, in the turbulent years between the 1880s and the 1920s - a time period during which English society was completely transformed. The books are set against the great events of the day - the Boer War and WWI, the rise of Labour, the death of Queen Victoria, and much more.

This book was originally published as three novels, with a short story "interlude" between each one, the structure being:

The Man of Property
(Interlude) Indian Summer of a Forsyte
In Chancery
(Interlude) Awakening
To Let


April: Award Winners (Fiction)
The Light of Day by Eric Ambler
Goodreads | Amazon US / Audible
Print Length: 224 pages
Spoiler:
1964 Edgar Award winner for Best Novel

From Goodreads:

The Light of Day was the basis for Jules Dassin’s classic film, Topkapi.

When Arthur Abdel Simpson first spots Harper in the Athens airport, he recognizes him as a tourist unfamiliar with city and in need of a private driver. In other words, the perfect mark for Simpson’s brand of entrepreneurship. But Harper proves to be more the spider than the fly when he catches Simpson riffling his wallet for traveler’s checks. Soon Simpson finds himself blackmailed into driving a suspicious car across the Turkish border. Then, when he is caught again, this time by the police, he faces a choice: cooperate with the Turks and spy on his erstwhile colleagues or end up in one of Turkey’s notorious prisons. The authorities suspect an attempted coup, but Harper and his gang of international jewel thieves have planned something both less sinister and much, much more audacious.


May: Science Fiction
In Times Like These: A Time Travel Adventure by Nathan van Coops
Goodreads | Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo US
Print Length: 384 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

"We broke something. How do you break time? Can something so bad happen that you fracture the world?" Benjamin Travers has been electrocuted. What's worse, he and his friends have woken up in the past. As the friends search for a way home, they realize they're not alone. There are other time travelers, and some of them are turning up dead. When Ben meets an enigmatic scientist and his charming, time-traveling daughter, salvation seems at hand, but escaping the dangers of the past may lead to a deadly future. If he hopes to save his friends, Ben must learn to master space and time, and survive a journey where past and future violently collide.


June: Science
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Goodreads | Overdrive
Print Length: 353 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.
“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.


What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Goodreads | Amazon US
Print Length: 321 pages
Spoiler:
Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.

If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?
How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm?
If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce?
What if everyone only had one soulmate?
When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?
How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?
What would happen if the moon went away?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.


July: Free-For-All
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)
Goodreads | Amazon US / Overdrive / WorldCat
Print Length: 607 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.


August: Thriller, Suspense, & Crime
The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
Goodreads | Amazon UK / Amazon US
Print Length: 288 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The classic World War II thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense. Now reissued in a new cover style.

Twelve hundred British soldiers isolated on the small island of Kheros off the Turkish coast, waiting to die. Twelve hundred lives in jeopardy, lives that could be saved if only the guns could be silenced. The guns of Navarone, vigilant, savage and catastrophically accurate. Navarone itself, grim bastion of narrow straits manned by a mixed garrison of Germans and Italians, an apparently impregnable iron fortress. To Captain Keith Mallory, skllled saboteur, trained mountaineer, fell the task of leading the small party detailed to scale the vast, impossible precipice of Navarone and to blow up the guns. The Guns of Navarone is the story of that mission, the tale of a calculated risk taken in the time of war.


September: Classics
Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Series Book 1) by Dorothy L. Sayers
Goodreads | Amazon US / Amazon UK / Audible US / Audible UK / Public Domain
Print Length: 208 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Wimseys mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, rings her son with news of such a quaint thing. She has heard through a friend that Mr. Thipps, a respectable Battersea architect, found a dead man in his bathwearing nothing but a gold pince-nez. Lord Wimsey makes his way straight over to Mr. Thipps, and a good look at the body raises a number of interesting questions. Why would such an apparently well groomed man have filthy black toenails, flea bites and the scent of carbolic soap lingering on his corpse? Then comes the disappearance of oil millionaire Sir Reuben Levy, last seen on the Battersea Park Road. With his beard shaved he would look very similar to the man found in the bath, but is Sir Levy really dead?

From FadedPage:

"Whose Body" is something of an apprentice work. Lord Peter is here more a bundle of characteristics than a character: a collector of rare books and incunabula, facile with quotations, fluent in French and probably in Latin, a skillful and sensitive pianist who never needs to practise, slightly built but possessed of "curious" strength and speed which he maintains without exercise. Over subsequent books, this caricature smooths and deepens into one of the most interesting and attractive detectives in fiction.
In spite of its awkwardness, Whose Body is worth reading. The plot is clever, the villain is believable and sadistic, and most of the supporting characters are a delight. Some of these characters are further developed in later novels: Bunter, Parker, the Dowager Duchess, Freddy Arbuthnot. Others fortunately are not. Sayers is much better with people she might recognise as "like us" then with people from other social groups.

From Goodreads:

The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.


October: Humor
Breakup (Kate Shugak #7) by Dana Stabenow
Goodreads | Amazon UK / Amazon US / Audible UK / Audible US / Kobo UK
Print Length: 260 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

When winter’s done, but spring has not yet fully-sprung, much of Alaska turns to slush. Locally, it’s called “breakup,” and it’s a… messy time of year. It’s certainly messy for Kate Shugak; between doing her taxes, being chased by grizzlies and getting shot-at by feuding families, she has to cope with an NTSB investigation that hits very close to home. Then, of course, there’s the body in the woods. And up at the old mining town. And… being Kate Shugak, somehow she can’t leave well enough alone, and begins to tease-apart a well-planned and surprising crime.


November: History
The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw
Goodreads | Amazon US / Kobo
Print Length: 596 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

From the preeminent Hitler biographer, a fascinating and original exploration of how the Third Reich was willing and able to fight to the bitter end of World War II

Countless books have been written about why Nazi Germany lost the Second World War, yet remarkably little attention has been paid to the equally vital questions of how and why the Third Reich did not surrender until Germany had been left in ruins and almost completely occupied. Drawing on prodigious new research, Ian Kershaw, an award-winning historian and the author of Fateful Choices, explores these fascinating questions in a gripping and focused narrative that begins with the failed bomb plot in July 1944 and ends with the death of Adolf Hitler and the German capitulation in 1945. The End paints a harrowing yet enthralling portrait of the Third Reich in its last desperate gasps.

The Magic City by Edith Nesbit
Goodreads |
Patricia Clark Memorial Library:ePub / Kindle
Print Length: 212 pages

Spoiler:
When young Philip Haldane and his new step-sister Lucy (whom he resents) are magically transported to a magic city (created by Philip from odds and ends from about the house), they find themselves on an incredible enchanted adventure complete with talking dogs, winged horses, ancient buildings and magic islands. How Philip and Lucy come to forge a friendship and work together to save the Magic City from impending disaster makes for a riveting, entrancing story.

From Goodreads:

Philip Haldane builds a play city out of odds and ends that comes to life, when his beloved sister Helen marries Lucy's father. But the nurse tears down the city and traps Lucy. Peter, The Deliverer, must perform seven valorous deeds, opposed by the Pretenderette, a mysterious veiled woman who wants to be Queen. Noah builds an ark and adventures abound.

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