Books to Look For (August): Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Humor

Science Fiction

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JS32DlavN0Y/U-p1WWZqY3I/AAAAAAABbPI/56_FTuzA2yA/s1600/UltraThinMan.jpgThe Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson (Tor Books, 336 pages, August 12)

It's the 22nd century, and when a group of terrorists crash a moon into the planet Ribon, aaaall kinds of schtuff hits the fan. Conspiracies abound, and it's up to two detectives to find the alien leader of the Movement of Worlds and find out who exactly this "Ultra Thin Man" is.


From the TBR Shelf: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/files/2014/04/perdido_street_station.jpgPerdido Street Station (2000) by China Miéville

How does one write about a novel so charged, so phantasmagorically creepy, so beautiful as Perdido Street Station? I have to say, now, that between this and Embassytown, I'm completely hooked on anything Miéville writes. His prose is so dense with complex images and complicated descriptions, and characters whose particular points of view broaden our understanding of the worlds that he creates.

Miéville has also encouraged my burgeoning love of steampunk, describing "crisis engines" and circuits and analogue self-creating AIs. This alternative technology, though, fits right in with the alternative world of Bas-Lag, where magic ("thaumaturgy") and Victorian-era tech mingle in an early industrial world controlled by the militia and corrupt government officials. It's grimy, it's violent, and it's a hotbed of new ideas about art and science.


Random Recommendation Guest Post: Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

This recommendation comes from Amanda. You can follow her on Tumblr and on twitter @ShoutTheBoogie.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ok6qIW8FL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgDouble Indemnity (1943) by James M. Cain

This brief but brilliant crime novel explores why ordinary people are driven to do evil. Here, Cain tells the story of an insurance salesman who teams up with the unhappy wife of a wealthy client to kill that client and collect the "accident" insurance (which pays double indemnity, of course). Double Indemnity is a classic of the genre.


10 Upcoming Biographies and Histories in 2014

http://bookriotcom.c.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ritz.jpgYou may have guessed this already but I just miiiight have a tiny obsession with history: talking about it, reading about it… you know. And when it comes to books about historical events that focus on fascinating people and their roles in those events, I’m all over them.

You won’t be surprised, then, to see below a list of exciting upcoming releases in History and Biography through the end of this year. So you’ve got your tennis, your Broadway, your Bob Dylan, your circuses. What more could you possibly ask for?!

Ah, 2014, you’re too good to me.


Books to Look For (August): History, Comics/Graphic Novels, & Travel


http://www.whitehots.com/usercontent/00_-_New_Images//monalisalifediscovered.jpgMona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales (Simon & Schuster, 336 pages, August 5)

Wut (I said to myself when I saw this title). After all, I thought the consensus was that we kinda sorta not really knew some things about the woman who posed for the painting but...Anyway, Hales has written a biography of this cryptic lady, Lisa Gherardini, and traced her back to the streets and neighborhoods of Florence where she lived at the turn of the 16th century. Looks fascinating.


In Translation: August Fiction

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GZUJvsmtk_M/UlACI9RlCAI/AAAAAAAAAAs/RKwKPokdZNA/w800-h800/11583140-globe-met-vlaggen-ter-wereld-op-een-witte-achtergrond.jpgIt’s time once again to topple your TBR stacks with some awesome newly-translated fiction! This month features two novels from Germany and one from Brazil.

(And for everyone getting all “BUT WHAT ABOUT MURAKAMI WHAT ABOUT COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI?!!?” I say, you know, I think that most Murakami fans already know about that particular new release in English, so I figured I’d highlight some others. And can I wait to read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki? NO I CANNOT WAIT).

From the TBR Shelf: The Man Who Saved the Union by H. W. Brands

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518svzSO-CL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace (2012) by H. W. Brands (Random House Audio Publishing Group; Books on Tape, 27 hrs, 51 mins)

I've got this thing about the American Civil War. No, I'm not a reenactor, or the kind of person who goes on pilgrimages to Gettysburg or Appomattox. However, I do love soaking up information about the people involved, the fateful decisions, the ways in which Americans ripped their own country apart and then worked equally hard to repair it.

The Man Who Saved the Union, then, was perfect for me. After all, it wasn't just about Grant; Brands uses the general to explore the issues of his time, which shaped who Grant would ultimately become. His life is the quintessential story of the person who rises up from nothing to become powerful and respected by an entire nation.


The Classics as Seinfeld Episodes

seinfeldAdmit it- back in the ’90s, you had the urge to send Larry David and Jerry ideas for Seinfeld episodes. Somehow, though, you lost your nerve, or lost the napkin upon which you scribbled your idea, or had it shot down by a cruel “friend.”

Well, this year marks the 25th year since the show debuted, and there’s a reason why it’s still in reruns: it was GENIUS.

So in honor of this milestone, we at the Riot wondered what Seinfeld episodes would have looked like if they’d been based on the classics (after all, it was literary at times, as Greg’s post shows).

Enjoy these Seinfeld-classics mashups and include your own in the comments!

Random Recommendation Guest Post: The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde

This recommendation comes from Kate Flegal. You can follow her on her blog The Book Junkie, on facebook, and on twitter @bookjunkieorg.

http://sffbookreview.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/thursday-next-first-four.jpgThe Thursday Next series (2001 - ?) by Jasper Fforde

So far, the novels in this series about a detective who works inside fiction, include: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of our Thursdays is Missing, The Woman Who Died a Lot, and Dark Reading Matter (TBA). Set in an alternate world, which Fforde created from a blend of SF, fantasy, horror, and romance, this series is "based upon the notion that what we read in books is just a small part of a larger BookWorld that exists behind the page" (Fforde).


Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LpKMgh0chuA/U57BSHM8XoI/AAAAAAAABB4/Bwc3sKaGUZ8/s1600/Lucky+Us+A+Novel+(Amy+Bloom).jpgLucky Us (2014) by Amy Bloom

Let's start with the cover. It's whimsical, it's fanciful, it's...a bird standing on a zebra standing on a lion standing on a tightrope.

The use of this painting by Deborah Van Auten is particularly appropriate, however, because, like these figures, the characters in Lucky Us are balanced precariously on one another, coming together by chance and relying on one another for love and companionship despite their differences.