Imagine if The Incredibles had a grown daughter without any superpowers, and you’ll have an idea of Celia West’s life. After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn is a fast-paced, sarcastic adventure of one woman with extraordinary family issues. Great escapist fun that’s perfect for shaking up your usual reading.
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Sita Sings the Blues is a flash of genius that paints the story of Ramayana with 1920s early jazz. Artist Nina Paley intercuts a modern American break-up story with Hindu mythology and brings them to life in an unusual blend of animation styles. Bold, brilliant, and weirdly charming.
The intellectual gamesmanship of modern detective tales can be traced to many of the stories featured in Great Classic Mysteries. Twelve iconic investigations will immerse you in intrigue and test your powers of deduction. Excellent performances by audio all-stars including Simon Vance and Simon Prebble make this collection one not to miss.
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” – Robert Frost
The Andreas sisters are named for three wildly different Shakespeare heroines, and the one thing they have in common is that their lives are messy. Bianca has just been fired and is swimming in debt. Cordelia gives up her semi-nomadic life when she discovers she’s pregnant. Rosalind had already been living at home in order to care for their ailing parents, and the tension of her upcoming wedding isn’t helping. In Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters, all three end up back under the same roof, and the curtain rises on a masterful blend of drama and lightness that would make the Bard proud.
Take the energy of a ’60s girl group and mix it with a little modern funk, and you may well find yourself with Wild Young Hearts. The London trio known as the Noisettes plays with tone and style in an unpredictable set of exuberant vocals and dynamic rhythms.
As one character observes, “talking about love is like dancing about architecture.” Yet, Playing by Heart makes the intricate steps seem appealing. A surprising ensemble including Sean Connery, Jon Stewart, and Angelina Jolie play out intertwining storylines exploring relationships at different stages. This overlooked gem has warmth, wit, and style.
Though Swedish crime fiction is all the rage, other nations have their own twisted secrets. The Past is a Foreign Country, a new import from Italy’s prize-winning Gianrico Carofiglio, details a law student’s slow descent into darkness while under the influence of a charismatic con.
Stop one incompetent bank robber, and everyone thinks you’re a hero. Then Ed receives an Ace of Diamonds with three addresses written on it. Why? I Am the Messenger is the unusual story of a likable slacker who tries saving the day one mysterious playing card at a time.
In a high-energy recording that doesn’t shy away from frank emotion, the three sisters of BarlowGirl challenge anyone who equates songs of faith with weak mediocrity. Love & War offers driving rock, soaring ballad, and buoyant pop, all with unwavering conviction. Uplifting? Absolutely. Boring? Not a chance.
Though I only discovered Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle a few years ago, it feels like a book I’ve loved all my life. Cassandra is one of the most fascinating and natural storytellers you’ll ever read, and her cleverness adds spice to this extraordinary coming-of-age tale. Simply enchanting.