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April 15, 2014

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A Look at Minor League Baseball from John Feinstein

A Look at Minor League Baseball from John Feinstein

We’re two weeks into the baseball season, the Giants are in first place in the National League West, and all is right with the world.  That must mean it’s time to start reading some baseball books, specifically John Feinstein’s Where Nobody Knows Your Name. Feinstein is a prolific sports writer, with nonfiction works on golf, [...]

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

In September 2011, about 5 months after HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones debuted, Dynamite Entertainment began releasing the comic series A Game of Thrones, adapted by Daniel Abraham, with art by Tommy Patterson. The indefinite article is significant: unlike the TV series–which is attempting to adapt the entire A Song of Ice and Fire [...]

Decoded

Decoded

Mai Jia has published three novels and a novella in his native China and has won several awards for them. But Decoded (2002) marks the first time his work has been published in English, and based on this one, we can only hope the rest of his work isn’t far behind. Some readers may be [...]

Dreams of the Golden Age

Dreams of the Golden Age

When I reviewed Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age back in 2011 (and listed it among our Best Books of the Year So Far), I had to be somewhat coy about my favorite aspect of the novel, because it was revealed in the final pages. But now, I think the time for spoilers has passed: [...]

That Old Black Magic

That Old Black Magic

A little more than a year ago, I posted an Omnibus Mystery Review Post, featuring six mysteries, many entries in series and/or by prolific mystery authors. So I expected sometime around now to have a new crop of reviews of many of the same authors, but so far I’ve been striking out. Jacqueline Winspear is [...]

Biographies

Biographies

I remember reading a lot of biographies when I was a teenager. Not memoirs or autobiographies (although I read those too), but big, thick books about famous people written by someone who had done a lot of research. I was obsessed with the Beatles, and I know I read several massive biographies of John Lennon [...]

Short Work

Short Work

Neither of the books reviewed below looks much like a traditional short story collection. Eileen Gunn’s Questionable Practices includes stories as short as one page long, a poem, and a “steam-punk quartet” of stories. Novak’s collection, meanwhile, mocks the whole concept of a “short story collection”, calling itself, in the subtitle,  “Stories and Other Stories”. [...]

Annihilation

Annihilation

Last week I praised Julianna Baggott for publishing her science fiction Pure trilogy within 2 years. Then on Monday, we posted our review of  MD Waters’s Archetype, which has a sequel due out in July. Well, Jeff VanderMeer has got them both beat–if the scheduling works as planned, the entirety of his new SF trilogy, [...]

Burn

Burn

And so it ends. We reviewed Julianna Baggott’s Pure exactly two years ago. Later in the year, we named it one of our favorite books of the year so far, and were then validated when it won a 2013 Alex Award. A year after Pure, we felt just as strongly about its sequel, Fuse. Now [...]

The Pieces We Keep

The Pieces We Keep

Still trying to catch up on all those great 2013 books we recommended? Sorry, we’ve still got a few more to add to that pile. Today, we have Kristina McMorris’s fabulous new novel, The Pieces We Keep. In this her third novel, McMorris returns to the World War II setting of each of her previous [...]

Victorian Violence

Victorian Violence

Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, and the next year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, the first novel to feature Sherlock Holmes–both works set in the heart of London. And in September of 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper began [...]

Maybe Hubris Isn’t Such a Bad Thing After All

Maybe Hubris Isn’t Such a Bad Thing After All

The 2014 Alex Awards have been announced – and they are an excellent group. We managed to predict one! Lexicon by Max Barry. That’s down from two in 2013 which I joked was a result of my hubristic claim to scientific accuracy. Maybe hubris isn’t such a bad thing after all. All joking aside, here’s [...]

Night of the Wolf

Night of the Wolf

Probably the most successful program I have ever held at my library was a “minute mystery” program–where I simply posted a short mystery and invited teens to solve it.  Today, I’m have a review of a collection of short stories by French novelist Paul Halter.  You may remember that a little more than a month [...]

An Exceedingly Humble Discussion About the Alex Awards

An Exceedingly Humble Discussion About the Alex Awards

MARK: Last year at this time, I tempted the fates by titling our pre-Alex Awards post “Extremely Scientific Predictions of the Alex Awards”, and the fates promptly put me in my place, as Angela and I each managed to predict only a single title correctly.  I’ve also already gone on record as stating that “this [...]

Life After Death

Life After Death

Two young women with recently deceased fathers find themselves immersed in relics of the past: these are the striking parallels between the two novels reviewed below.  In Ellen Marie Wiseman’s What She Left Behind, the teenaged heroine is sucked into the past by the journals of another young woman who had been committed to an [...]

Harrowing Memoirs

Harrowing Memoirs

Today we look at two memoirs of harrowing childhoods.  Today’s teens are too young to remember the media onslaught brought on by Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping and rescue. But they will be by turns riveted and revolted by her account of her abduction, which was made especially horrific to her as she was forced to act [...]

Confessions of Marie Antionette

Confessions of Marie Antionette

Confessions of Marie Antionette brings to a close Juliet Grey’s trilogy on that perenially popular, if still misunderstood, monarch. We reviewed the first two novels in the trilogy, Becoming Marie Antionette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, and we recommend this volume just as strongly. For teen readers who love to get lost in a [...]

Serious Business

Serious Business

Gah! The end of the year approaches, and we still have several 2013 titles to recommend, so forgive me if today’s novels are a bit less thematically similar than usual. With that said, all three of today’s novels take us to some very dark corners of teen life. In Save Yourself, we are introduced to [...]

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen

Let’s see: this year we’ve had a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the Bennets’ maid and a modern rewrite of Sense and Sensibility. This year also saw the release of a film of Shannon Hale’s Austenland (the sequel of which, by the way, this blog reviewed). And today we have yet another [...]

Best Of Updates

Best Of Updates

Booklist has published its Best of 2013 list, and Kirkus has put up its Best Nonfiction list, so we can finally wrap up our look at the major journals’ take on the best books of the year. In the fiction category, there are no big surprises since last we spoke, although interestingly, most of the [...]