If you like dry English humor, then Kind Hearts and Coronets is for you. Louis plots the demise of family members, shortening the line of succession to become Duke. His conniving and lust for revenge is punctuated with humorous circumstances and whimsical dialog as he romances, manipulates, and eliminates his relatives.
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The Girl who Played Go is a touching, intimate novel set in the 1930s. A Japanese soldier and a teenage girl both struggle with their roles in Manchurian-Chinese society. The Chinese strategy game of Go, which draws the characters together, is a metaphor for their lives in search of self.
The Metabarons by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez is an epic space opera graphic novel. The characters include humanoids, cyborgs, and other mechanical and living creatures. It is a story of bravery, sacrifice, loyalty, survival, ethics, and morality. The plot, enhanced by luscious illustrations, makes this book a page-turner.
Chris Ware’s 14-piece graphic novel, Building Stories, follows the lives of three households in a Chicago three-flat – an elderly landlady, a lonely single woman, and a couple with a strained relationship. Their lives are a mix of melancholy, happiness, and contentment that will hold your interest from beginning to end.
Larry of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends Feed by M.T. Anderson:
Computers have been reduced in size to a small chip that can be implanted in the human brain. Everything that can be done with a computer is now done by the interaction of one’s thoughts with the chip which is in constant connection with the network. Get the news, watch your favorite show, talk online with your friends, do your work, and buy products online through your brain’s connection to the Feed. No need to read, write, or dial numbers; it all comes to you automatically, including a constant flow of advertisements for products targeting your specific interests. But there’s a price to pay in quality of life and human development for a society of runaway consumerism and instant gratification.
Hey trivia buffs, ever wonder why Michigan is in two pieces, why Oklahoma has a panhandle appendage, or why California and Texas aren’t rectangular shaped? How the States Got Their Shapes, by Mark Stein, will give you the answers and a unique view of American history.
Robert Middlekauff’s The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763 – 1789 is a well-researched history of colonial life and politics during the American Revolution. Middlekauff describes the social, economic, and political conditions that led to the War for Independence in this worthy read for both history buffs and the curious layman.
Battle Cry of Freedom describes the political and social environment that led to the Civil War. A glimpse into the human experience of both soldiers and civilians adds greater depth to the flowing, easy-to-follow prose. Considering the writing style and the scholarship, it is no wonder that James M. McPherson won a Pulitzer Prize for this book.
Journalist Sebastian Junger describes the experiences of a platoon of American troops with whom he was imbedded in the remote Korangal Valley of Afghanistan. Junger describes the constant danger and discusses how soldiers cope with nonstop fear and being alert to respond at any time. Soldiers encounter an inhospitable environment, no privacy and the inability to maintain personal hygiene. Junger describes the bonds that form among the troops under these adverse conditions. Then there is how the physical and mental stress affects soldiers when they attempt to return to civilian life.
This is a story of survival, fortitude and maintaining a sense of purpose. War is a testament to personal strength and dedication, written in a fast-paced prose with all the emotion and imagery of the experience. As with his previous books, Junger has written an excellent work of nonfiction.
The Shawshank Redemption is a tale of courage in the face of adversity, hope in the midst of despair. Tim Robbins plays a convicted murderer, Andy Dufresne, who’s efforts at maintaining a sense of self have a powerful impact on his fellow inmates, especially “Red” Redding, played by Morgan Freeman.