Found note in database that reviewer quit @LJReviews ‘to focus on more substantial publications.’ We don’t need ya stinkin’ reviews.
PICK OF THE MONTH
Ice-T & Hinojosa. Mirror Image. Forge: Tor. May 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780765325143. $25.99. pap. ISBN ISBN 9780765332196. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429944878. F
Ice-T, star of television’s Law and Order: SVU, ponies up the next episode of the street life of Marcus “Crush” Casey following 2011’s Kings of Vice. After serving a 20-year bid in the joint and still reeling from his son’s murder, Crush finds himself in a gangster midlife crisis when his woman Carla demands stability in their lives. But he channels his inner gangster by godfathering New York City’s gangs and exposing police corruption. Backed by his right-hand dude Champa and an uneasy alliance with rival Armenian gangster Alek Perosian who may be his mirror image, Crush aims to pull off one more major heist of priceless cars. Crush hasn’t lived this long by making rash decisions, but love and loyalty may cloud his vision. VERDICT There’s a procedural vibe here and the story reads long with its excessive details of Crush’s setup, but Ice-T’s slang rings true. Electronic surveillance gear rivaling James Bond films plays a big role as Crush’s crew scams the cops while planning the robbery. A rousing action scene provides a satisfying finale, but hardened street lit readers may be frustrated with this “clean” novel short on sex and violence.
No wonder LJ’s editorial staff were atwitter over Hugo Award nominee Scalzi’s (Redshirts) latest novel—it kicks ass! It’s hard to sum up pithily the background where Earth has finally cut off supplying soldiers and colonists to the Colonial Union (CU). As the CU struggles to get Earth back into the fold, it also needs to avoid conflict with any of the other 600 races in the universe at all costs; diplomacy is the new gold standard. Though each can be read independently, chapters function as a tapestry of related missions with fast plot movement and political intrigue joined with “hard” sf. Characters overlap; most, but not all, chapters feature Ambassador Ode Abumwe’s diplomatic mission group supported by Lt. Harry Wilson. “She was acerbic and forbidding; he was sarcastic and aggravating.” Wilson, the mission’s token Colonial Defense Force (CDF) soldier, is like all CDF: ex-Earth, completely green with bionic blood, and a kind of iPad device embedded in his head. His wry, sarcastic humor, chutzpah, capability, and can-do attitude make him the effective amalgam of Scotty, Spock, McCoy, and Kirk all rolled into one funny green man. Refreshingly, most of the missions are fairly low-level political stuff (e.g., trading for Burfinor medical technology); nothing cosmos-threatening, no epic sagas, and it’s unfailingly confounding to see fiction “real” future life that reflects today’s—down to the stereotype of media talk show hosts. Despite the diplomatic shenanigans and Wilson’s cheerful insouciance, the possibility of an upcoming human division is real. Earthlings need to choose between “a forced alliance with former oppressors” or leaving the CU to join a large political bloc called the Conclave. Which would you choose? Verdict Enjoyable, lol funny, readable, and realistic. Bradbury or Asimov fans will OD on this.
Smithsonian Gov Doc
The works featured in Natural Histories span from the 16th century to the early 20th century, with scientific disciplines ranging from anthropology to astronomy to zoology. The edition is packaged with 40 extraordinary, suitable-for-framing prints representing each essay.
“In the days before photography and printing, original art was the only way to capture the likeness of organisms, people, and places, and therefore the only way to share this information with others,” said Tom Baione, the Harold Boeschenstein Director of Library Services at the Museum. “Printed reproductions of natural history art enabled many who’d never seen an elephant, for instance, to try to begin to understand what an elephant looked like and how its unusual features might function.”
Watch this video interview with Library Director Tom Baione, below, and for more information see the full press release.
For more images check out http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/27/natural-histories/
I loved finding this book on my shelves last fall. Check out our review of the book!
Parravani, Christa. Her: A Memoir. Holt. Mar. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780805096538. $26. MEMOIR
Parravani’s twin sister Cara died of a drug overdose at the age of 28 and the author herself danced close to the same edge from time to time. In recounting their tumultuous upbringing, young marriages, and a devastating assault on Cara, Parravani succeeds in “writing Cara back to life” and saving her own life in the process. No punches are pulled here, and Parravani’s matter-of-fact tone does nothing to shield readers from the enormity of her loss. VERDICT Imagine looking in a mirror and not seeing yourself. Imagine living the rest of your life with half of yourself missing. Imagine looking at your own corpse. You don’t have to imagine: Parravani’s story makes it all clear.
The Library Journal Book Review needs writers!
My first book review in Library Journal.
My real reason for posting this is to say that now I can officially take Molly out for margaritas and tell people I’m having drinks “with my editor.”
I was thinking about posting this song in response but instead I will say, 1) there are few things as wonderful as the fancy language Erin and I can now use about our friendship, and 2) YOU, TOO, CAN REVIEW FOR LJ. (Email me!)
Oh, hey, check out what’s out today!
Read LJ’s starred review of Caro’s latest, the highly anticipated Passage of Power:
Caro, Robert A. The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Knopf. May 2012. c.736p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780679405078. $35. BIOG
The first volume of Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson was published in 1982; the third, Master of the Senate, garnered the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Caro (The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York) now presents the fourth volume—a major event in biography, history, even publishing itself. The time span covered here is short, opening with Johnson’s unsuccessful try for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination and closing with his 1964 State of the Union address mere weeks after JFK’s assassination. Caro’s focus is on those seven weeks between the assassination and the address. He again alters our view of Johnson by illuminating how, even in the earliest moments of confusion and grief following the assassination, he moved beyond the humiliations of his years as vice president and, with a genius for public leadership buttressed by behind-the-scenes manipulation of the levers of power, ensured the success in Congress of JFK’s dormant economic and civil rights programs while establishing himself, however briefly, as a triumphant president, fulfilling his lifetime ambition. VERDICT Caro has once more combined prodigious research and a literary gift to mount a stage for his Shakespearean figures: LBJ, JFK, and LBJ’s nemesis Robert F. Kennedy. Readers’ only disappointment will be the necessary wait for Caro’s next volume.—Bob Nardini, Niagara Falls, NY
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. Dutton Juvenile. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780525478812. $17.99.
The release of any book by Green is eagerly anticipated by teen and adult readers alike. Drawing even more attention to his latest offering, the popular author determined to autograph all 150,000 copies of the book’s first print run, making it an Amazon best seller over a month before its publication date. Lofty expectations, and Green delivers; this story of two teens fighting end-stage cancer may be his best book to date. Hazel is alive (but depressed) thanks to a miracle drug that has bought her more time with her “lungs that suck at being lungs.” At support group she meets Augustus Waters, who has lost a leg to osteosarcoma. He is struck by her sharp wit and resemblance to Natalie Portman and invites her home to watch V for Vendetta, beginning a relationship that will take them from the ICU to Amsterdam, exploring the joys and despairs of first love when there may not be a second chance. The author’s experience as a chaplain in a children’s hospital informs the story, so that it avoids the becoming maudlin, even as Hazel’s and Gus’s every dignity is stripped away by their respective cancers. An unforgettable story with more than just two unforgettable characters.