2012 Man Booker Prize Shortlist

September 13th, 2012

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 Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

Umbrella by Will Self

Narcopolis Jeet Thayil

September 12th, 2012
Michael Chabon - Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the BorderlandsAll novels are sequels; influence is bliss.

The Admiral's Mark - Steve Berry

September 11th, 2012

The Admiral's Mark by Steve BerryEight years ago Cotton Malone was an agent for the Justice Department, handling the toughest and most sensitive international investigations. But sometimes things became intensely personal. In his latest eBook original short story, New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry lays out just such a tale—one with shocking historical implications.

Cotton Malone never cared for the shady dealings of his brother-in-law, Scott Brown. But when Scott dies while scuba diving, Cotton’s wife and her grieving sister demand more than just a secondhand police report. So Malone heads to Haiti. There, beneath crystal clear waters, he learns that Scott found the sunken wreckage of the Santa Maria, the fabled flagship of Christopher Columbus, and he paid for the discovery with his life. Setting out to piece together what happened, Malone quickly realizes that he’s not the only man there with questions. An Israeli intelligence agent is in top secret pursuit of what Scott died trying to protect. And a sinister Austrian with a hidden agenda has no qualms about killing for the mysterious prize. On the hunt for something that has been lost for 500 years, Malone is suddenly enmeshed in a deadly cat and mouse game being played across the north shore of Haiti and beneath the Caribbean Sea—and he’ll have to fight just to get out of there alive.

The Admiral's Mark is the short story Steve Berry released to coincide with his full-length novel The Columbus Affair.  Berry has been using these short stories to set the tone for the novels and introduce important characters.  While The Columbus Affair is not a Cotton Malone novel, Cotton is in The Admiral's Mark.

When Cotton's brother-in-law, Scott, dies in a scuba-diving accident, Cotton puts his negative personal feelings for Scott aside and heads to Haiti to investigate.  Other persons of interest that Cotton encounters in Haiti are an Israeli intelligence agent and a mysterious Austrian man who confirm Cotton's fear that Scott was involved in some scheme on the island and that his death was no accident; he was murdered under water.  

The Admiral's Mark is less than 50 pages, so when they say "short story," they mean it.  It is certainly a quick read, but it just isn't Steve Berry's best story line.  

Amazon

September 10th, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - The Well of AscensionYet, he was coming to realize that he could love her even if he didn't completely understand her.

The Black Box

September 7th, 2012

The Black Box by Michael Connelly

The Black Box by Michael ConnellyIn a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photojournalist during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch’s ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue.

Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the “black box,” the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together. Riveting and relentlessly paced, The Black Box leads Harry Bosch into one of his most fraught and perilous cases.

This book will be available on November 26, 2012.

Pre-order your copy.

September 6th, 2012
One Big Thing by Phil CookeDestiny wants to be pursued. It wants to be discovered. Why? Because it's in the journey we learn to understand and value what it means.

The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson

September 5th, 2012

The Well of Ascension by Brandon SandersonThey did the impossible, deposing the godlike being whose brutal rule lasted a thousand years. Now Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire.

They have barely begun when three separate armies attack. As the siege tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

It may just be that killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge.

There are many challenges to face after you overthrow a man who has ruled for a thousand years, as Vin and Elend are finding out after their unlikely victory against the Lord Ruler. It is also very idealistic of Elend Venture to think that the people, who have been oppressed for so long, have any interest in participating in a parliamentary government. Many think that to restore the balance of power, the only real option is to crown another ultimate, single ruler. Three men who follow that line of thinking have come to be heard, and each brought his army. Vin believes that she can save the way of life they have fought so hard to win if she can find the source of the Lord Ruler's power, the Well of Ascension.

I was concerned that after such a complex first book that there just wouldn't be enough left in the author's tank. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong. There is a lot going on in this book and I had to stop periodically through the book to wonder if it would all come together. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I was this impressed by a book. Brandon Sanderson wrote a book where everything had a place; everything belonged and nothing was left to chance. Sanderson masterfully crafted a sequel that was even better than its predecessor.

Amazon

September 4th, 2012
Eldest by Christopher Paolini"If I may be arrogant enough to offer advice, I've found that it's essential for my sanity to allocate a certain portion of the day for my own interests."

Telegraph Avenue

September 3rd, 2012

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

Telegraph Avenue by Michael ChabonAs the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.

When ex–NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.

An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own, Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we've been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon's most dazzling book yet.

This book will be available on September 11, 2012.

Pre-order your copy.

August 31st, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn"The idea of someone who can play with their emotions, who can mystically get them to do certain things, makes them uncomfortable. What they do not realize -- and what you must realize -- is that manipulating others is something that all people do. In fact, manipulation is at the core of our social interaction."