Although we did not have any events this summer, I was still reading books. This page contains a preview of some of my favorite books from Summer 2010. Some of these ae not out yet and some don't fit into the LLL model, but I look forward to sharing them with you at our next LLL event.
This is one book you never thought you would read (and might not want to read at first glance). The subject is painful and the point of view is not one you can relate to easily. But once you pick this book up it is impossible to put down. Let me amend that. After you get accustomed to the voice and the uniqueness of the situation, you are too far into the story to let it go.
This is how it begins: Jack is celebrating his fifth birthday. You immediately notice that he speaks differently than a normal 5-year-old. He is both younger and older than his years and this is because the only world he has ever known is the Room he lives in. Everything he has and knows is a result of whatever Old Nick gives him, what his mother teaches him, and what he learns from the TV, where he is only allowed limited access. His mother has been captive and locked in this Room for seven years. She has accomplished an incredible feat with the world she has created for herself and her son. And that is where the story begins.
There are multiple parts to this story, but there will be no spoilers here. What I can say though, is that I thought it was a perfect book. It was perfect in pitch, the characters were true to their natures for the situations in which they found themselves, and it has been a long time since I have read an ending to a book that was so perfect.
I have been a huge fan of Don Winslow’s since the very first book I read
(A Cool Breeze on the Underground) when we opened the bookstore 17
years ago. And my enthusiasm has never been diminished. With every book I
read, my personal fandom for Don grows. The only thing that puzzles me
is why Don Winslow is not yet a household name.
With the publication of Savages, I think this puzzle will be solved as
Don once again proves that he is a master at his craft. This time he
takes on the Mexican drug cartel, Southern California law enforcement,
and a bunch of extremely likable drug dealers. This in-your-face,
spare-no-one, adrenalin rush of a novel is as addictive as the drugs
that Ben and Chon create and “dispense.” This novel will have you
shivering in your boots because you know that this is as much fact as it
is fiction. And Don spares no one and treads lightly nowhere. This
smart, frantic look into one of the deadliest crime issues in our
current history will ensure a place on every bookshelf for Don Winslow.
Part Time Traveler’s Wife and part Many Masters, Many Lives, Brashares’ second adult novel is captivating from the start. Daniel has spent many centuries and many lives making many mistakes and falling for the same girl, in life after life. He is one of a rare breed who remembers all of his past lives and recognizes the souls of those he has known in the past. Part of the book takes us through some of his past lives and the other part is his attempt to connect to (his true love) Lucy without scaring her away (again!). To say that he is tortured is an understatement, but it is our hope that he can work through his current life and find redemption and maybe even love.
I loved this book all the way to the end … and then found out that it is the first book in a trilogy! And now I have to wait until next year around this time. So …buyer beware. You will love this book, but to find out what happens next, you will have to wait …
Brashares is best known for her young adult series the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but with Memory, she can rest assured that she will have an adult following as well.
Okay, I admit it. I bought this one for the cover! Okay, and the tagline on the cover: A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves, and Parasols!
Then I kept reading because this first entry in The Parasol Protectorate series is a hilarious mixed-genre bag combining the delicate sensibilities and social mores of Victorian London with the aforementioned vampires, werewolves and parasols. Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster in high society London and she is bored with her lot in life ... oh, and she has no soul. She has known this since she was six, though she has no idea why she is among the soulless. This preternatural state is a rare occurrence among humans, but particularly among women, but it does give her some interesting power over the supernaturals that are a part of English society. It is these unique powers that eventually hook her up with Lord Maccon, the Alpha of the Woolsey Castle pack and also BUR’s supernatural liaison (supernaturals have been integrated into London society) and an agent of Queen Victoria’s Shadow Parliament. Neither one has taken well to the other ... or at least that is how they are playing it. We of course, have seen this plot before and know that the realization will hit at some point before the book ends and that is great fun in and of itself!
This book received tons of bookseller buzz as a candidate for the next great American novel at this year's winter bookseller conference. It certainly has all of the ingredients. It is a readable (and well written) tale of an All American Family albeit one that consists of one father, four mothers, 27 children, multiple dogs, and three houses. It is told from multiple points of view: one of the mothers, one of the children and of course, The Father. The story of The Lonely Polygamist can (and is) summed up by The Father of this family, Golden Richards. This is a guy who things happen to (yes, all of those wives and children) and he feels that his life is now reeling out of control. He sums it up all nicely in this list that he refers to as The Big Picture at the center of the book: “1. The Father has feelings for his boss's wife. 2. His own wives are giving up on him. 3. His family is falling apart. 4. His finances are drying up. 5. He has a condom in his wallet and a large clump of gum in his pubic hair. 6. He has no idea what to do about any of this.”
You must read The Lonely Polygamist to see how his life unravels before he can be put it together again. The result is both comical, predictable, and heart-wrenching.
A great title (open to lots of interpretations). An appealing protagonist. Lots of action. A little romance. The real insider’s Las Vegas.
Lucky O’Toole knows her way around Las Vegas and especially around her domain, the Babylon, the newest of the over-to-top mega casino/resorts on The Strip. She is the head of Customer Relations (AKA chief problem solver) and the number one employee of The Big Boss. The book and her day start with an ex-hooker who is fatally dumped in the pirate’s lagoon in front of Treasure Island, a naked man in the staircase, a new security hire who may be working for the bad guys (but is very, very appealing in other ways), and any number of customers who require her special care. Her hours are long and she is tireless in her resolve to correct all wrongs and get to the bottom of who murdered Lyda Sue Stalnaker.
As Lucky unravels the clues and gets closer to the truth, she also uncovers some of her own truths and desires, and the underlying story of love and redemption is the perfect contrast to the underbelly of life she encounters daily. Adding to this terrific debut is a wonderful cast of supporting characters -- her mother owns a world famous brothel, her assistant has a thing for a younger man, her BFF / possible romantic interest is a renowned drag performer, and she is mentoring a young detective on the police force. This is a debut mystery author to watch.
I read Delivering Happiness at a time when customer service was the #1 priority for my store … and timing could not have been better. I can’t recommend this book highly enough for business owners who want to rethink the way they have been doing business and reexamine their company’s core values and goals. And even for those who are not in business, this book reads like a suspense novel you don’t want to put down until you find the next gem and then the next one. You will want to know all about Tony Hsieh and how he was able to build Zappos from nothing to a 1 billion dollar business in 10 years, in a particularly challenging economic environment. His ability to think “outside the box” and create a culture and a way of doing business that is truly unique makes a wonderful reading experience. Then use this book to begin asking yourself the right questions and take away a multitude of ideas you can immediately begin using in your own business and in life. Tony’s goal is to make businesses better and employees and customers happier. This is a goal I can get behind and I am doing so by recommending Delivering Happiness to everyone you know.