Sunday, April 25, 2010

Are You Seth? vol.9 or What's New This Week?

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted a round-up of the new releases for the week - and even longer since I posted anything resembling a book recommendation, so I thought, since most of this week's releases (especially the paperback ones) are so decidedly "Seth-friendly", I'd offer a combo deal.  By the way, if you like reading about the new books here on the blog, let me know: either in the comments field, at or just by coming by on the second Tuesday of every month for Coffee with a Bookseller and telling me in person. (Or any day, for that matter.)
  • The 9th Judgment by James Patterson - being the cynical, snobbish jerk that I am, I've been considering a James Patterson-related personal challenge to myself for several months now & I think the time is ripe. Depending on the number of chapters - I assume this will have at least 100 - I will be undertaking somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 Days of James Patterson, during which I will read one chapter a day & post my thoughts on the daily reading to my blog, The Book Catapult. I might chicken out, but for now, I'm doin' it! It's gonna be hilarious. By the way, in between writing or co-writing 5-9 novels each year (last Fall he signed a 17 book, 3 year deal with Hachette), Patterson also watches a lot of movies: check it out.
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende - always a major publication, a huge bestseller, and destined to be a favorite of Jim S. from Warwick's. Here's a summary from Isabel Allende’s triumphant return to historical fiction tells the story of Zarité, a nine-year-old mulatto girl who is sold as a slave in eighteenth-century Santo Domingo. This sweeping novel follows her and other slaves over forty years, telling the story of their exploitation and the miserable conditions of their lives. Adding depth and color to the story are the women who help Zarité survive: Violette, the prostitute; Loula, the businesswoman; the witch Tante Rose; and the plantation cook, Tante Matilde. In Zarité, Isabel Allende has created another of her unforgettable characters: a fighter, a heroine, a woman who will prevail regardless of what the future might hold.
  • Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco - before this debut was even published, it was awarded the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize (the judging panel called it "brilliantly conceived, and stylishly executed" written with "seemingly effortless skill.") and the Grand Prize at the Palanca Awards, the highest literature prize in the Phillipines. C'mon, that's pretty impressive. "It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River - taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate. To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, piecing together Salvador’s story through his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The result is a rich and dramatic family saga of four generations, tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress." I, for one, can't wait to read this.

    New Paperbacks:
  • Zulu by Caryl Ferey - the latest crime novel release from the wonderful Europa Editions. A violent, shocking account of crime in modern South Africa - which is not the happy place we may think it has become in the last decade. From my Book Catapult take: "I think what disturbed me so much was that the violence never felt gratuitous in any way - it just felt real, which is a lot scarier. You learn about halfway through that this is one of those books where no character is safe - just like it would be if this were a true story. Once the gang that (detectives) Ali & Co. are chasing realizes that cops are, in fact, touchable, the whole game is turned on it's head and you really never know what will be lurking in the next set of shadows."
  • The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen - one of my favorite books from last year, now out in paperback. I'm going to plug my other blog again, where I've written about Spivet on several occasions, so forgive me: #2 on the 2009 Catapult Notable List. If you're ever wondering what sort of book is infinitely better in a bound-book format (rather than an e-book one), T.S. Spivet is the perfect example. A masterfully illustrated novel of a wandering genius boy that is unlike anything you have ever read, I guarantee it.
  • Sanctuary by Ken Bruen - I'm a huge Bruen fan, as most Warwick's regulars know, and while I did really like the story to this, the seventh Jack Taylor novel, I was extremely miffed at the large-type, double-spaced, 202-page, $25 hardcover edition that came out last spring. I feel a little better about it as a $13.99 paperback. If you like crime novels and have not read this series, come talk to me.
  • The City and the City by China Mieville - #6 on the 2009 Catapult Notable List. (Like I said, a very "Seth-friendly" week of releases.) The LA Times called this "a Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler love child...raised by Franz Kafka." Here's my "Warwick's Recommends":  "In a style similar to Philip K. Dick or Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music, Mieville expertly blurs genre lines in this science fiction crime novel of a bizarrely divided city. The city is one physical space, but partitioned by an otherworldly division – they merge & blend, but the residents always stay separate, avoiding eye contact, out of a collective fear of the spooky Breach, the overseers of this crazy sociological experiment. But what happens when a woman is murdered in one city, but her body is discovered in the other? There is not much negotiating with Breach, so the politics for Inspector Tyador Borlu are complicated, to say the least. A crazy cool novel."
Don't forget, Coffee with a Bookseller (aka: Coffee with Seth) is on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 10:00am. (Next one is May 11th)  Free coffee, free scones from Brick & Bell, and free book advice! ***Starting with the May edition, anyone in attendance will receive a 20% discount on any of the books I talk about - only good on that day. Pretty sweet!***

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