Aleph

August 30th, 2011

Aleph by Paulo Coelho

Aleph by Paulo CoelhoTransform your life. Rewrite your destiny.

In his most personal novel to date, internationally best-selling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, he decides to begin again: to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.

Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian Railway, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Aleph invites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys: Are we where we want to be, doing what we want to do?

Some books are read. Aleph is lived.

This book will be available on September 27, 2011.

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August 29th, 2011
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield"Silence is not a natural environment for stories," Miss Winter told me once. "They need words. Without them they grow pale, sicken and die. And then they haunt you."

Last Man in Tower

August 16th, 2011

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildSearing. Explosive. Lyrical. Compassionate. Here is the astonishing new novel by the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The White Tiger, a book that took rage and anger at injustice and turned it into a thrilling murder story. Now, with the same fearlessness and insight, Aravind Adiga broadens his canvas to give us a riveting story of money and power, luxury and deprivation, set in the booming city of Mumbai.

At the heart of this novel are two equally compelling men, poised for a showdown. Real estate developer Dharmen Shah rose from nothing to create an empire and hopes to seal his legacy with a building named the Shanghai, which promises to be one of the city’s most elite addresses. Larger-than-life Shah is a dangerous man to refuse. But he meets his match in a retired schoolteacher called Masterji. Shah offers Masterji and his neighbors—the residents of Vishram Society’s Tower A, a once respectable, now crumbling apartment building on whose site Shah’s luxury high-rise would be built—a generous buyout. They can’t believe their good fortune. Except, that is, for Masterji, who refuses to abandon the building he has long called home. As the demolition deadline looms, desires mount; neighbors become enemies, and acquaintances turn into conspirators who risk losing their humanity to score their payday.

Here is a richly told, suspense-fueled story of ordinary people pushed to their limits in a place that knows none: the new India as only Aravind Adiga could explore—and expose—it. Vivid, visceral, told with both humor and poignancy, Last Man in Tower is his most stunning work yet.

This book will be available on September 20, 2011.

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August 16th, 2011
George R. R. Martin - A Game of Thrones"Never forget who you are, for surely the world won’t. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."

2011 Man Booker Prize Longlist

July 27th, 2011

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction represents the very best in contemporary fiction (from the UK, Ireland, and the Commonwealth). One of the world’s most prestigious awards, and one of incomparable influence, it continues to be the pinnacle of ambition for every fiction writer. It has the power to transform the fortunes of authors, and even publishers. In 2004, not only did Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty reach the bestseller lists, but previous winners The Life of Pi (2002) and Vernon God Little (2003) were also amongst the bestselling books of the year.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

Far to Go Alison Pick

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

Derby Day by D.J. Taylor

Cold Vengeance

June 21st, 2011

Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildDevastated by the discovery that his wife, Helen, was murdered, Special Agent Pendergast must have retribution. But revenge is not simple. As he stalks his wife's betrayers-a chase that takes him from the wild moors of Scotland to the bustling streets of New York City and the darkest bayous of Louisiana-he is also forced to dig further into Helen's past. And he is stunned to learn that Helen may have been a collaborator in her own murder.

Peeling back the layers of deception, Pendergast realizes that the conspiracy is deeper, goes back generations, and is more monstrous than he could have ever imagined-and everything he's believed, everything he's trusted, everything he's understood . . . may be a horrific lie.

COLD VENGEANCE

Nothing is what it seems.

This book will be available on August 2, 2011.

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June 20th, 2011
Robin Hobb - Royal Assassin - 253"No, my dear. But I promise you I shall take care of it this morning, in my room." To call her "my dear" made me feel as a man as no words ever had before. I kissed her, promising myself that I would go immediately afterward, but I found myself lingering to her touch on my neck. I sighed, "I do have to go."

The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson

June 6th, 2011

The Finkler Question by Howard JacobsonHe should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one... Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czech always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.

Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you have less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses.

And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.

The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2010 Man Booker Prize Winner. Be like me. Be mislead by the synopsis, which summarizes what happens in only the first few pages and read the book. That is marketing. You sell books that are about lifelong friends who cope with loss in each others' misery. There is depth to that story. There are layers you can't wait to peal away, one chapter at a time. You may still sell some books, but not nearly as many, that are about two Jews who wonder what the point is to be Jewish any more and their non-Jew friend who is literally obsessed with all things Jewish.

This book is a great example of an unnamed genre where the weak plot is just a vehicle for an author to write beautifully about something. In The Finkler Question, Jacobson offers some deep perspective on mortality, companionship and the sense of self. He adds some commentary on the still-on-going violence against Jews around the world. His characters are flawed, even those who seem to be the best put together (maybe they are the most flawed of all) and that might be the most "real" part about this story.

It seems that from the a few of the recent Man Booker winners that maybe the Prize goes to the book that has the best writing and is not necessarily the best book...if that makes sense. To that point I cite this book and Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.

Wikipedia says that Howard Jacobson "is best known for writing comic novels that often revolve around the dilemmas of British Jewish characters." This is recommended reading if you like pretty much anything by Michael Chabon who works a healthy amount of Judaism into his writing, whether it belongs there or not. That's not really my "thing," though I will always highly encourage people to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Amazon

June 2nd, 2011
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldI've nothing against people who love truth. Apart from the fact that they make dull companions. Just so long as they don't start on about storytelling and honesty, the way some of them do. Naturally that annoys me. But provided they leave me alone, I won't hurt them.

Carte Blanche

May 30th, 2011

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver

Carte Blanche by Jeffery DeaverFresh from Afghanistan, James Bond has been recruited to a new agency. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of Five, Six and the MoD, its very existence deniable. Its aim: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary.

The Night Action alert calls Bond from dinner with a beautiful woman. GCHQ has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfil his mission.

This book will be available on June 14, 2011.

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