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Books

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The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault

A different kind of mystery.  Billy Webb, a recent college grad, gets his first job as an editor for a dictionary publisher located in a small town in western Massachusetts.  From the details it is obvious the author has worked as a lexicographer herself.  Researching the word "editrix" in the enormous citation file that includes snippets from books and magazines showing words in use, Billy and co-worker Mona come across a quotation from a novel entitled The Broken Teaglass that appears to be set in their office.  Intrigued, they try to track the book down only to

Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson

This one is for the soccer buffs out there. Wilson provides an exhaustive history of soccer tactics, from the game’s beginning up to present day shifts in paradigms.  Taking us from muddy British fields, to behind the Iron Curtain, and into the heart of South American jungles, Wilson shows how the thinking about the game has developed.

Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor

Chef Jeremy Papier struggles to keep his first restaurant afloat in between visits to his anthropologist father, who is living with and researching the homeless residents of Vancouver B.C.'s 1,000-acre Stanley Park. In his day job, Jeremy negotiates with a profit-driven corporate financier in the city and creates radical cuisine menus for the diners at The Monkey's Paw Bistro.

The Key by Simon Toyne

In this sequel to the religious conspiracy novel ‘Sanctus,’ we pick up where we left off. Liv Adamsen has survived an explosion in the Citadel, but doesn’t have any memory about how she got into the sacred fortress, or how she got out. Now her fellow survivors are mysteriously dying, one by one. She appears to be next.

The Caller by Karin Fossum

Someone is playing strange and nasty pranks on the citizens of Elvestad, and Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to investigate. What begins as unnverving (one elderly woman reads her own obituary in the newspaper, and a dying man answers the door to find the hearse has arrived to pick him up) becomes increasingly sinister as the novel progresses. Fossum examines the impact of evil on the human mind in this psychological thriller--and provides no comforting conclusion. Another standout book from this Scandinavian author (try The Indian Bride as well).

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (1964)

90-year-old Hagar Shipley is increasingly frail and forgetful but still fiercely herself as she looks back on a tumultuous life and forward to what's left of it. Proud, prickly and strong-willed, Hagar came of age in the Manitoba prairies before the turn of the 19th century, struggling to assert herself in an era of limited choices for women. Along the way, she loses her mother and both her brothers, marries "beneath" her and against her father's wishes, raises two sons and loses one, and faces the end of her life unrepentant.

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

In Eggers’ first novel in six years, we are taken to a fledgling Saudi Arabian city. Here Alan Clay, a middle-aged middle manager, is making what could be his last chance effort for financial and mental stability. Gone are the days of his salesmanship excellence and achievement, now he is divorced, broke, and trying to pay for his daughter’s education. We follow Clay as he tries to keep his Saudi deal together, and himself together.

He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

If you like big, fat, thoroughly enjoyable 19th century novels, this is the book for you. Considered by some to be one of Trollope's masterpieces (he wrote something like 50 novels), "He Knew He Was Right" is a character study, a satire, and an exploration of patriarchal power and women's rights. The central plot involves a happy, loving marriage gradually destroyed by the husband's obsessive jealousy. Orbiting Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan are a fascinating and amusing assortment of friends and family members whose lives and loves intersect.

Amped by Daniel H. Wilson

What starts out as a plan to help people with medical issues by giving them implants to help their problems, grows into something much more. Some peoples skills are so amplified that they seem superhuman. Wilson’s book starts with a Supreme Court decision banning ‘Amps’ from full rights as citizens. The results of which are catastrophic and threaten to start a new civil war. We follow the story of one special Amp and his struggle in this new America. An excellent, fast paced sci-fi thriller.

The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty

As in most books I've read about addicts, Mike Doughty's doesn't really wallow for long in how awful it must be but his is the only one I've ever read in which the author says: "If heroin still made me feel like I did the first time, and kept making me that way forever -- kept working -- I might've quite happily accepted a desolate, marginal life and death."  Although sobriety is surely the better choice, he's seems to have traded desolate and marginal for bitterness and self loathing.

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