This recommendation comes from Paul Weimer: "@skiffyandfanty co-host, @sfsignal irregular, & @sffaudio foederatus." Follow him on twitter @PrinceJvstin and check out his blog here.
The Shadow of the Torturer (1980) by Gene Wolfe
"The first volume of The Book of the New Sun. The Earth is old and the
sun is dying. In the great Citadel of the City Imperishable, Severian -
apprentice to the torturer's guild - betrays his oath. Exiled, he begins
his phantasmagoric odyssey through the perilous world of the deep,
This latest novel by the Chinese writer A Yi is a quick read, not just because it's a bit over 200 pages, but because it's a crime novel narrated by the killer himself, so...
I'm always intrigued by stories like this, because writers can delve into the psychologies of their main characters and dredge up some qualities that we might see within ourselves. I'm thinking here, for instance, about Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hughes's In a Lonely Place. And this is precisely what Yi does with his unnamed, muderous teenaged narrator, bringing us into his mind as he plans and then executes his crime.
This recommendation comes from John E. O. Stevens. Follow him on twitter @eruditeogre and check out his blog here.
"The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals..., the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe. The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his expert and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society."