RaveShelf AwarenessThe Perfect Golden Circle is a thrilling introduction to a British literary star an a moving meditation on history, trauma and the urge to create...The Perfect Golden Circle concerns itself with what modern Britain is choosing to leave behind, which includes those damaged by a pointless war, like Calvert, and unclassifiable creative sorts, like Redbone, who simply don\'t fit in...The land is also in the process of being left behind, both in terms of reckless ecological destruction and in the average person\'s ties to ancient practices of farming or spiritual communion...In the fields at night with Calvert and Redbone, Myers\'s evocative prose captures the unlikely friendship growing between the two characters as well as the ways their work helps them heal and find purpose...The Perfect Golden Circle is closely bound to its characters, but its reflective mood takes readers on enthralling excursions into England\'s vast history.
PositiveShelf Awareness... evocative ... is in many ways a celebration of the smaller, scrappier animals and plants that were able to survive the impact and the devastating years-long winter that followed. These organisms might lack the size and majesty of the Triceratops horridus, but that doesn\'t make their survival and eventual flourishing any less dramatic. One of the keys to the book\'s success is Black\'s willingness to narrate events from the animals\' perspectives, which allows readers to conceptualize both the scale of the disaster and the luck and ingenuity that allowed species to survive. The book also succeeds by lending immediacy and an admirable narrative sweep to scientific information.
RaveShelf AwarenessOperating at the peak of his game ... Winslow has always excelled at portraying the seedy exploits of mobsters and corrupt police on an operatic scale ... thrives on its regionalism ... When the bodies start inevitably piling up, the stakes of this local gang war couldn\'t seem higher.
Masatsugu Ono tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter
PositiveShelf Awareness... too mysterious to be fully pinned down ... The novel takes on an episodic feel, created by various characters who wander in and out of the narrative ... The novel also has an odd sense of humor, often presenting an acerbic angle on everyday life ... The book\'s most lasting impression might be the anxious mood that pervades the novel, the sense of the world--including other people--as irrational, unknowable and threatening. Some readers might think At the Edge of the Woods has perfectly captured the mood of the times.
PositiveShelf AwarenessDavid Keenan\'s Xstabeth is a daring experiment that questions what fiction can and should be. Xstabeth seems designed for readers looking for something unusual and hard to define, though its restless approach to narrative is likely to be polarizing ... a surprisingly sincere novel that pushes the boundaries of fiction.
PositiveShelf Awareness... a classic story of utopian yearning and collapse, affectingly updated to incorporate present-day concerns about climate change and the erosion of democracy ... reminds readers that daily life and the emotional turmoil of young adulthood carry on even as, in this case, the effects of climate change become increasingly evident and the United States starts to slip into authoritarianism. Eleutheria intelligently examines the way ideological convictions are formed from emotions and experiences, and how those convictions can lead to irreconcilable differences and heartbreak ... More alarming than Eleutheria\'s dark future might be how accurately it captures the sense of teetering between apocalypticism and hope, which seems as descriptive of the present mood as it is of an imagined future.
David Wright Falade
PositiveShelf Awareness... immersive ... This deeply researched work of historical fiction devotes much more time to the campaign\'s wearying tasks of marching and provisioning than the brief but ferocious outbreaks of fighting. Just as central to the novel are the battles taking place in Etheridge\'s heart, as he must learn to stop searching for belonging among people incapable of seeing him as fully human.
Xavier Navarro Aquino
RaveShelf AwarenessVelorio is an ambitious, movingly lyrical debut novel from Xavier Navarro Aquino that looks at the real-life tragedy of Hurricane Maria\'s impact on Puerto Rico through a grief-soaked, phantasmagorical lens ... While Urayoán\'s paradise follows a familiar course, becoming increasingly violent and Hobbesian as the novel progresses, the prose is distinctive and dreamlike. Navarro Aquino swaps characters and takes on their voices with graceful fluidity, moving from Urayoán\'s messianic prophecies to characters that punctuate their passages with scraps of poetry ... Navarro Aquino\'s gift is translating that historical pain into the turbulent inner lives of his characters, all struggling in their own, sometimes destructive, ways with their feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
Sasa Stanišić, Tr. Damion Searls
RaveShelf Awareness... a playful, formally adventurous novel that freely blends truth and fiction in its meditation on homelands ... The line between novel and memoir is frequently blurred, with the novel mimicking his grandmother\'s surreal existence as her dementia progresses and the past increasingly intrudes on the present. In perhaps the novel\'s most enjoyable—and melancholy—surprise, it includes a branching choose-your-own-adventure with a variety of endings and fantastical digressions ... the author\'s earnestness [is] both undercut and reinforced by humor ... The novel is determined to surprise and unmoor readers, perhaps in the same way the author/protagonist found the course of his own life surprising and disconcerting, with the author\'s restless imagination a constant, delightful companion.
RaveShelf Awareness[A] captivating debut novel from Juhea Kim, an epic of love and war spanning decades that the author somehow smuggles into a brisk, 400-page book ... As with any great love story, their relationship repeatedly sparks to life only to be frustrated by events both mundane and historically consequential. The times the characters must survive are often violent and harsh, but they maintain a surprising tenderheartedness ... Readers should expect to be swept along themselves by the waves of passion and tragedy that make the novel so appealing.
PositiveShelf Awareness... makes a powerful case that, instead of vilifying dirty workers, Americans must reckon with what is being done in their name ... muddies the moral lines that many readers might unconsciously maintain, showing their complicity in labyrinthine, deeply unfair systems where the privileged never have to get their hands dirty ... about weighty moral questions, but it\'s also about people, profiling dozens of workers and empathetically engaging with their crises of conscience. While never absolving his interviewees, he forces readers to ask themselves whether, under similar circumstances, they would have behaved any differently. Dirty Work is not a comfortable or comforting read, nor is it meant to be. Instead, it is a rigorously argued, compassionately framed moral appeal that for some readers might serve as a wake-up call.
PositiveShelf Awareness... beautifully written ... The plot is relatively threadbare, with most of the novel following Krishan\'s sometimes highly tangential trains of thought as he makes the journey north. Readers spend many pages on his romance with Anjum, on their growing disconnect before she left him, and on the recent e-mail from Anjum that he hopes might promise a renewed relationship. Many more pages are devoted to Buddhist women\'s poetry, an important Tamil independence advocate and a documentary about young women who fought for an elite wing of the Tamil Tigers. Arudpragasam ties these passages together with ambitious prose--the sentences are lengthy and complex, as fluid and expansive as Krishan\'s thoughts--so that even the most unlikely tangents feel incorporated into a cohesive whole, a part of Krishan\'s attempt to organize his knowledge and experiences into something meaningful. A Passage North succeeds remarkably at capturing the turmoil of a young man looking for a way forward amid the ghosts of the past.
RaveShelf AwarenessHarlem Shuffle once again shows off Colson Whitehead\'s ability to master myriad genres ... Whitehead confidently crafts a pressure-cooker novel ... Harlem Shuffle makes excellent use of time-honored techniques, piling problem upon problem onto Ray\'s shoulders. For readers, Ray\'s constant balancing over the abyss makes for a gripping story, as lovingly detailed as it is good pulpy fun.
Nona Fernández, tr. Natasha Wimmer
RaveShelf AwarenessNona Fernández (Space Invaders) uses her considerable empathetic power as a novelist to penetrate the darkest corners of Chile under Pinochet\'s dictatorship. Fernández blends historical facts and seemingly autobiographical details with what can only be imagined, reconstructing not only the inner lives of people tortured and \'disappeared\' by the regime\'s security apparatus, but that of one of the torturers ... In her novel, Fernández musters her courage and empathetic imagination to stare into the Twilight Zone, to look deep into a secret world that many would prefer to ignore or forget. The Twilight Zone is a frank look into a nation\'s subconscious and the dark dreams that haunt victims and perpetrators alike ... a wide-ranging, empathetic novel that doubles as a heartrending inquiry into the scars left in the Chilean psyche by Pinochet\'s dictatorship.
RaveShelf Awareness... [a] compulsively readable, highly impressive work ... Faleiro carefully reconstructs the investigation into the girls\' deaths in all its dysfunctional detail ... While Faleiro has used extensive interviews to portray Padma and Lalli as more than the symbols they became--unearthing their hopes, dreams and familial conflicts in almost novelistic detail--the book is equally valuable as a document of the many complicated, interwoven issues that face India. The truth behind what happened to Padma and Lalli is more banal than it might at first seem, but no less horrific in its implications. The Good Girls is excellent, deeply felt nonfiction.
Yang Jisheng trans. by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian
RaveShelf Awareness... detailed, deeply researched ... packed with detail, carefully tracking the moves and countermoves of bureaucrats and rebels, the frequent reversals of fortune that suddenly turned heroes into enemies and vice versa, the constant maneuvering in the corridors of power and Mao\'s fickle decision-making. In that sense, the book feels both authoritative and not for the faint of heart. Yang does not go out of his way to arrange the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution into an easy-to-digest narrative. Instead, he presents the facts and mostly lets them speak for themselves, only occasionally dropping in a personal anecdote ... Which isn\'t to say The World Turned Upside Down lacks perspective: Yang\'s careful accumulation of facts becomes a moral accounting, providing a model for how rigorous scholarship can penetrate ideology and arrive at something like the truth. The World Turned Upside Down may be the definitive account of a tragic historic episode.
RaveShelf Awareness... inventive and original...finding the tragedy and the bitter humor contained within the American obsession with Black iconography ... an exciting read ... the lack of clear-cut moral choices for people living in a white supremacist, capitalist society...drives the book, but never resolves into simple dichotomies. Hubbard\'s book is jam-packed with plot and characters, schemes and conspiracies, all mixed up in a captivating eddy ... The Rib King is a successful historical novel, full of period detail and sympathetic characters ... Hubbard shows the monstrously strange methods through which capitalism perennially recasts suffering and injustice into profitable icons.
RaveShelf AwarenessThe bones of an intriguing true-crime narrative are all here, but Cooper is at least equally interested in introducing readers to the highs and lows of her own investigation: the exciting leads, the dead ends, the many complicated people she comes to know. Cooper skillfully recounts the thrill of a new suspect coming to light or fresh information allowing for a different, potentially revealing, angle on Jane\'s murder. And, as her investigation slips deep into tangents, she is able to use the murder as a jumping-off point for a wide range of issues ... Cooper\'s impressive research allows her to examine the claustrophobic world of archeology and, in particular, the incredibly tense archeological digs Jane participated in that some thought were key to her fate. In one of the most passionate aspects of the book, Cooper sees understanding the climate of sexism and misogyny as key to understanding Jane\'s story ... The murder at the center of the book is a rabbit hole that contains further rabbit holes, many of which the author capably leads us down. While the book is wide-ranging, there are no purposeless tangents ... a compelling investigation where every fascinating mystery seems to lead to another.
RaveShelf Awareness... sets itself apart from the literary thriller pack thanks to its highly original premise and empathetic range ... O\'Connor once again plumbs the depths of trauma with careful attention to psychological detail ... O\'Connor excels at sympathetically depicting the extremes of human thought, building careful psychological portraits of characters yearning for something like transcendence ... O\'Connor takes care not to paint anyone as an uncomplicated villain, an approach that pays off as the novel becomes a reflection on forgiveness, letting go of the past and healing ... While it builds to a suitably harrowing climax, Zero Zone quickly reveals itself to be a meditation on art in the body of a thriller.
RaveShelf Awareness... a characteristically thorough and impressively researched account ... While delving into the weeds of political compromise and legislation, Nasaw never loses sight of the hopes and struggles of the people at the center. Nasaw captures the stories of dozens of DPs and their families, and provides a vibrant account of the displaced persons camps\' transformation into mini-nations with their own schools, houses of worship and complex politics ... showcases Nasaw\'s deft handling of complexity--not only the number of global controversies that the Displaced Persons issue fed into, but the morally complex issues of collaboration ... becomes an account of new beginnings, sometimes for people who didn\'t deserve them.
PositiveShelf Awareness... an intriguing entry in the lengthy tradition of first-contact stories ... the novel goes in surprising direction ... Perhaps because Cora is young and somewhat cheeky, the novel sometimes takes on a lightly comic tone, filled with sarcasm and nerdy Easter eggs. And Ellis doesn\'t stint on the 2007-specific jokes ... This can make for a pleasantly breezy read, even given apocalyptically high stakes. At the same time, Ellis geeks out over every detail of the aliens\' physiology, culture, history, even the structure of their language, providing an imaginative and coherent picture of alien society. At its core, Axiom\'s End is warm-hearted, even—very cautiously—optimistic, more Carl Sagan\'s Contact than War of the Worlds.
RaveShelf Awareness... deranged, electrifyingly fun ... every bit as wild and weird as its delightful predecessor ... Harrow the Ninth carries over all the strengths of its predecessor, in other words, including the verbal sparring and ever-entertaining insults ... delves even deeper into the vulnerabilities of Muir\'s damaged characters, whose posturing can\'t hide their hang-ups and death wishes and terrible regrets. Few books can be this funny, sad and romantic all at the same time.
PositiveShelf AwarenessSurvivor Song is an eerily relevant horror novel ... Tremblay excels at short, breathless novels that pack a visceral and emotional punch, and Survivor Song is no exception ... Unsettling parallels aside, Survivor Song is a breakneck, frightening test of what two people can overcome.
PositiveShelf Awareness...an empathetic portrait of a difficult mother-daughter relationship intercut with grief, road trips and queer romance ... In a way, All My Mother\'s Lovers resembles a coming-of-age novel, inasmuch as learning to forgive and accept your parents--and the insecurities they\'ve handed down--is a critical part of growing up ... a raw, emotional book about acceptance and the kind of complicated, messy love that sometimes takes years to comprehend.
Hao Jingfang, trans. by Ken Liu
PositiveShelf Awareness... a science fiction epic that doubles as a work of philosophy--a novel filled with big ideas about art, competing cultures and so much more ... Hao\'s greatest achievement is her incredibly intricate rendering of life on Mars, including both its practical realities and its philosophical underpinnings ... sometimes reminiscent of old-school sci-fi in its reliance on dialogue. Much of the book is made up of lengthy conversations between characters arguing about Mars and what constitutes a healthy society. Hao thankfully avoids the all-too-common habit of making one character her obvious mouthpiece; instead, it\'s often unclear who is right and who is wrong. Even Luoying\'s grandfather, the alleged dictator, is treated sympathetically and given a fully coherent ideology. In Vagabonds, the conflict between Earth and Mars is no more important than the conflict between the novel\'s characters as they struggle to chart a course for their future.
RaveShelf Awareness...an excellent coming-of-age novel that will make you laugh when you least expect it ... Much of the humor in the book comes from these outlandish yet sympathetic characters. Bump has a talent for writing scenes with a combination of absurdity and pathos ... Bump has written a sprawling novel, despite the short length, with sharp bursts of wit that never undermine Claude\'s predicament. Everywhere You Don\'t Belong is a book about the tragic absurdity of growing up in a place that you both love and need to leave.
RaveShelf Awareness... a remarkable account of a distinctive historical moment ... demonstrates that an appetite for violence was stoked and then carefully directed to align with Democratic electoral objectives ... Zucchino\'s account of the terror and violence that accompanied the Wilmington coup unfolds in horrifying detail ... Zucchino emphasizes how what might seem like random violence in fact served practical political aims ... Some of Zucchino\'s most provocative reflections come in the epilogue, where he draws comparisons between the voter suppression methods of the 19th century and the recent efforts of North Carolina\'s Republican politicians to limit black, and therefore Democratic, voting. He also writes about the disputed memories of the coup, still a contentious issue after more than a century. Zucchino never needs to stretch to find connections between the 1898 coup and the present day. The trauma--as well as political and economic consequences--still linger.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThe book frequently serves as a frontline account of events, featuring personal insight into many of the key figures in the transition, and insider accounts of the painstaking, frustrating work of diplomacy as well as agonizing examples of missed opportunities. By immersing the reader in the difficulties of, for example, organizing disaster relief with a sclerotic government, Thant Myint-U hints at how even a mythologized figure like Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi could not produce the miraculous change international observers hoped for ... shows that reforms often fixed the easiest of Burma\'s problems, doing nothing to address the country\'s more fundamental challenges ... For Western observers who may have seen the crackdown on the Rohingya as a shocking reversal of recent trends, this book is a sobering corrective, an account of how the nation arrived at a crisis point and how the international community embraced a hopeful, misleading narrative.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
PositiveShelf Awareness... a dread-soaked retelling of real events that sets itself apart with an unusual premise and setting ... Besides its basis in history, the premise opens up fascinating questions about how women respond when the patriarchal structures they were born into collapse around them. The Mercies demonstrates faith in women\'s toughness and adaptability, but takes a clear-eyed view of how the old ways violently reassert themselves ... Hargrave does not provide a simplistic feminist parable: prejudice, suspicion and petty grievances set the women against each other almost immediately after the men die ... For all the novel\'s outer grimness, it finds a warm heart in the relationship between Maren and Ursa ... As the promise of a matriarchal society fades and survival once again becomes preeminent, the bond between the two women strengthens. By the novel\'s bloody end, they are the only spark of hope left.
Eliane Brum, Trans. Diane Grosklaus Whitty
PositiveShelf AwarenessThe Collector of Leftover Souls can seem like an idiosyncratic hodge-podge, but therein lies its charm; it contains as much life and oddball personality as Brum\'s subjects. The collection puts particular focus on the victims of so-called progress--the economic modernization that has made Brazil a global player. The stories also showcase Brum\'s lyricism, perhaps a surprising quality for a reporter ... While...not an oral history, the pieces heavily feature quotations from their subjects, the source of many of the collection\'s most devastating, poetic lines ... While Brum does not shy away from the violence and poverty that sometimes overshadow Brazil\'s reputation, her talent is in profiling and humanizing people who are too often treated as an undifferentiated mass. In the process, she honors their pursuit of joy and justice—their everyday insurrections.
RaveShelf AwarenessWhen it comes to epic fantasy, it\'s difficult to imagine a more purely fun read than Gideon the Ninth ... [Muir\'s] debut novel is startlingly confident. She plunges the reader head-first into an unapologetically strange, complex and frequently disgusting universe ruled by powerful necromancers ... Apart from Gideon and Harrowhark\'s relationship, Gideon the Ninth is at its most thrilling in its action scenes. Even veteran fantasy readers can expect to be blown away by Muir\'s sheer creativity, especially in her descriptions of the necromancers at work ... simply one of the best and most original books in recent memory.
RaveShelf AwarenessAmy Waldman\'s follow-up to The Submission is a brilliant novel and one of the most incisive books written about America\'s endless war in Afghanistan ... Because the story takes place in 2008, readers benefit from hindsight in a way that Parveen cannot. Some, for example, might note the similarities between Gideon Crane\'s story and that of Greg Mortenson, the controversial philanthropist and author of Three Cups of Tea ... Waldman not only demonstrates Parveen\'s immense privilege in comparison to the villagers, but fashions a critique of the way narratives can obscure and shape reality ... Parveen is a study in divided loyalties.
PositiveShelf AwarenessGertner is deeply apprehensive about Greenland\'s future, which he convincingly demonstrates is tied to the future of our planet. What his scientific heroes discover is alarming: Greenland\'s ice sheet is rapidly melting. Gertner voices concern for the consequences this will have on rising sea levels, for example, but he also mourns the disappearance of the ice itself. Once thought of as a lifeless desert, Gertner\'s book memorializes the ice sheet\'s beauty and the astounding secrets it continues to hold.
Kira Jane Buxton
RaveShelf AwarenessKira Jane Buxton\'s debut, Hollow Kingdom, offers a unique, oddly hopeful perspective on the end of human civilization ... In its broadest strokes, Hollow Kingdom is an environmentalist parable ... If this all sounds very weighty, it\'s important to emphasize that Hollow Kingdom is an extremely funny, occasionally silly book. The reader will need to possess an appreciation—or, at least, a tolerance—for copious animal puns ... S.T.\'s witty commentary is a highlight of the book, though so frequently profane that it resists quotation. What makes Hollow Kingdom special is the ease with which Buxton offsets heavy themes with humor. At the heart of the novel is an entertaining adventure story ... S.T.\'s relationship with Dennis achieves pathos and an incredibly earned emotional denouement that I would have never predicted at the start of the novel. Hollow Kingdom is a surprising, funny, genre-bending novel, an environmentalist parable crossed with an epic adventure story, difficult to describe and even more difficult to put down.
Orin Starn and Miguel La Serna
PositiveShelf AwarenessThe Shining Path: Love, Madness, and Revolution in the Andes is a gripping history ... One of the most troubling elements of the book is witnessing the transformation of these well-read intellectuals and political agitators into leaders of a savage insurgency. Starn and Serna are careful not to omit the Peruvian military\'s brutal and self-defeating efforts to combat the Shining Path ... The Shining Path\'s greatest strength is demonstrating how good intentions can be buried under dogmatic ideology.
David K. Randall
PositiveShelf AwarenessBlack Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague provides a fascinating, in-depth look at a little-known episode in American history ... The degree to which racism and poor relations with the Chinese community compromised the response to the plague is a major theme of the book, with Randall tracing the build-up of anti-Chinese sentiment deep into the city\'s past ... While Black Death at the Golden Gate recounts a crisis from our nation\'s past, it carries clear implications for our future. When the next outbreak occurs, we will need to defeat our own worst instincts as well as the disease.
PositiveShelf Awareness... proves that truth does not come from a mere recitation of facts, but from the messy byways of memory and other more unexpected sources ... partially about how the past haunts the present, especially if the root issues go unaddressed. The book is about Mexico, and Torreón, but its lessons are not limited to those localities. Herbert claims that \'this is not the story you were expecting,\' but in many ways it is achingly familiar.
RaveShelf AwarenessDoubles as a family drama and offers potent critiques of the United States\' cold war policies in Africa. Wilkinson\'s narrative skips around in time, adding to the suspense while giving the reader complementary perspectives on her protagonist, Marie Mitchell ... crammed with ideas worth unpacking ... a complex and powerful work.
PositiveShelf AwarenessIn many ways, Golden State is a reflection on contemporary preoccupations about fake news and alternative facts. ... recalls 1984 in its emphasis on surveillance, obsessive record-keeping and bureaucracy, although the sunshine and acres of marijuana fields make Winters\'s vision considerably more attractive ... Winters is an expert at combining social commentary with gripping mystery plots, and the novel never slows down enough to be accused of didacticism. With rich characters, frequent twists and tense set pieces, Winters always nails the hardboiled basics. And even as Ratesic\'s unquestioning faith in his society erodes, it remains a provocative and compelling alternative to the uncertainty that can seem to undergird modern life.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThe novel pushes a relentless pace, with countless well-executed action scenes and an impressive body count ... Zero Sum Game\'s pleasures lie in the protagonist\'s repeated ability to extricate herself from seemingly impossible predicaments, whipping up math-based solutions to gunfights on the fly. In one memorable scene, Russell makes a number of small adjustments, one involving an umbrella, that allow her to eavesdrop on a distant conversation. How? It involves sound waves and, of course, math. In Cas Russell, Huang has created a protagonist with a distinctive hook.
Martin Solares, Trans. by Heather Cleary
RaveShelf Awareness\"...another unpredictable descent into a region of Mexico teetering on the edge of complete lawlessness. It is reminiscent of Don Winslow\'s dark thrillers The Power of the Dog and The Cartel in its emphasis on the miseries wrought by the drug trade, but Solares\'s focus is firmly on the Mexican side of the border ... throughout the book\'s bold narrative choices, Solares maintains a deft touch for suspense. He draws out the threat of violence like a horror maestro until it unleashes in terrible bursts. Solares\'s most frightening ability of all, though, is to give even monstrous characters understandable motivations.\
Roberto Saviano, Trans. by Antony Shugaar
PositiveShelf Awareness\"Saviano and his translator, Antony Shugaar, use the nuances of language to reflect on the culture that produces gangs of violent young boys ... The Piranhas contains scenes of violence that are shocking not just in their ferocity but for the youth and immaturity of the perpetrators. The gangsters of this novel are children who carry out crimes in between rounds of PlayStation ... Saviano paints a portrait of youthful disaffection and misguided priorities, ending in tragedy as daisy chains of violent acts reach their inevitable conclusions.\
RaveShelf AwarenessEmpress succeeds in its mission to impress upon the reader the remarkable character and achievements of Nur Jahan ... According to Lal, Nur has been unfairly blamed for the civil strife that accompanied the latter part of her rule with Jahangir and given little of the credit she deserves. Empress remedies these slanders and oversights while telling an engrossing tale of female power.
Curzio Malaparte, Trans. by Jenny McPhee
RaveShelf AwarenessMalaparte\'s talents as a writer include his acid wit and an eye for detail. In his hands, the higher levels of Soviet society prove just as ridiculous and corrupt as the aristocratic societies of Europe. The tennis matches, affairs, scandals and society gossip that define court life in Europe are conducted in Moscow, however, in a pervasive atmosphere of fear ... Malaparte\'s sense of humor is pitiless, memorably referring to Lenin\'s embalmed corpse as a \'precious crustacean.\' Kremlin Ball is a terrifically funny and entertaining portrait of a seemingly powerful group of people dancing on the brink of destruction.
PositiveShelf Awareness\"What at first seems like an unusual riff on the home invasion thriller evolves into a story that can\'t easily be pigeonholed. Without ruining any of Tremblay\'s nasty surprises, it is safe to say that the four strangers turn out to have very earnest motivations that they believe to involve the fate of the human race. The novel unfolds cinematically, taking place over hours rather than weeks. As harrowing as it may be, however, there is a lot of warmth in its depiction of Eric, Andrew and Wen\'s small family. There is also a surprising amount of dark humor. The Cabin at the End of the World deftly moves between private insecurities and existential terror, poking holes in the flimsy sense of security families rely upon.\
Ethan J Kytle, Blain Roberts
RaveShelf Awareness\"Denmark Vesey\'s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy is vital to understanding some of the deepest fault lines in American life ... This is an excellent history of the divergent views of slavery that developed in Charleston, S.C., after the Civil War and that have contributed to deep racial divisions in American life.\
Sam J. Miller
PositiveShelf AwarenessBlackfish City...establishes a dystopian world that stands apart in a crowded field ... Blackfish City distinguishes itself by a number of idiosyncratic touches ... In a dystopic future where climate change threatens human survival, a strange \'orcamancer\' might offer the only glimmer of hope for the inhabitants of the floating city of Qaanaaq.
Bob D. Ehrman
PositiveShelf AwarenessHe offers a survey of many centuries of scholarship on the subject, writing about the merits of certain explanations while rejecting others. What emerges in his account is a measured, grounded, but no less astounding tale of a persecuted religion that swept the ancient world with shocking rapidity.
PositiveShelf AwarenessBerwald excels at depicting the wonder and appreciation she has gained for the strange, gelatinous creatures and the ocean that sustains them ... Jellyfish are fascinating in part because there's so much more to find out about them. In Spineless, Berwald demonstrates that our oceans represent a scientific frontier at least as exciting and promising as space, and posits jellyfish as a prime candidate for study and appreciation.
RaveShelf AwarenessIn his new book, Greenblatt focuses on a much older work of literature: the story of Adam and Eve. Greenblatt is clear-eyed about the ways relatively recent scientific discoveries have for many displaced the long-dominant origin story, but he has 'come to understand that the term "lie" is a woefully inadequate description of either the motive or the content of these stories, even at their most fantastical' ... After establishing the origins of the Western world's most impactful origin story, Greenblatt examines the diverse ways the story has been interpreted over time ... Greenblatt excels at showing how a seemingly simple story could inspire ideas that were frequently at odds with each other, or even with their author's own purposes ... The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve seeks to remind us why the story of Adam and Eve had such a powerful impact on Western culture, and even resurrects the story's value for present-day readers without the same theological inclinations.