Month: July 2011

John’s Pick: Weathercraft

John staff picks photoFor more than twenty years, Jim Woodring’s elegantly wordless “Frank” comics have immersed readers in a dreamlike, richly allegorical milieu which is equal parts unsettling and whimsical. 2010’s Weathercraft is Woodring’s first long-form work and possibly his best-realized. It follows one character’s ascension from total debasement into a kind of unexpected nobility.

Cutting For Stone

Cutting  for Stone book coverMary Jane of Information Services recommends Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese:

Sister Mary Joseph Praise gives birth to twin boys, slightly joined at the skull, Shiva and Marion. Horrorstruck, the father vanishes. Bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as 1950s Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. It will be their passion for the same woman that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland and find refuge as an intern at a New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. The medical detail is stunning in this unforgettable story.

Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

The Singularity is Near book coverRespected inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil wants to live forever. He doesn’t think that this is so out of the question. With the right diet, supplements and…machinery. He’s a technological optimist. In The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil examines the merging of human biology with “GNR” (genetics, nanotechnology and robotics). Think of the Borg mixed with The Matrix and then add about twelve thousand percent more thoughtful research. This is not an “easy read.” It’s about 700 pages and it will make you think. Should humans live forever? What’re the ethical ramifications? What about the environmental outcomes of an extended lifespan? Kurzweil definitely brings up more questions than he answers, but his visions of the future are intriguing and disarmingly plausible.

Award-Winning Romance

Welcome to Harmony book coverIf summer puts you in the mood for romance, snuggle up to one of the new winners of the 2011 RITA Awards.  Given by the Romance Writers of America, the RITA Awards celebrate outstanding published works in diverse categories of the romance genre.  Among this year’s honorees:

Best Regency Historical Romance – The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

Best Inspirational Romance – In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon

Best Young Adult Romance – The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Best Romantic Suspense – Silent Scream by Karen Rose

Best First Book – Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner

Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements – Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Life’s So Sweet in the Passenger Seat

Picnics, state fairs, and long trips on back roads.  Summer brings out the country flavor in all of us.  If your soundtrack needs more music with both down-home charm and an extra splash of energy, give SHeDAISY a try.  Known best for rich harmonies that blur country and pop, this sister trio belts out bold, cheerful songs with playful lyrics, all delivered with a wink and a grin.  Even when they slow it down with more heartfelt themes, the entertainment doesn’t lessen.  Fans of Sugarland and the Dixie Chicks will appreciate the sweet and sassy nature of SHeDAISY’s appeal.  Try Sweet Right Here or Knock On the Sky.