Tag Archives: Christopher Moore

My Summer Reading List: Something old, something new, some things fiction, some things true…

New Fiction

The Whole World, by Emily Winslow (New from Delacorte)

This smart, tightly plotted mystery will keep you guessing till the last. The characters are strange and engaging and very real. The setting leaps off the page. You feel like you might put this novel down and look up to find yourself there in Cambridge, England – cycling through the streets, surrounded by students from all over the world, in a strangely small-town-like city that thrives on the unusual and bristles with 800 years of architecture.

The Blind Contessa\’s New Machine, by Carey Wallace (Coming in July from Pamela Dorman Books)

I cannot shut up about this book. It’s lyrical and spare as a line drawing, but full of the kind of lush fancy I’d expect from Allende or Atwood. The contessa of the title grows up, marries and slowly grows blind – escaping into an interior world of stunning detail where few can follow and none, it seems, can stay.

Displaced Persons, by Ghita Schwarz (Coming in August from William Morrow & Company)

As we lose survivors of the Holocaust, this wise, tender novel brings us closer to an appreciation of what it is to go on, to create a new life out of whole cloth with little if any family, and fierce friendships grown on bitter ground. Schwarz considers what it costs to live in the present and allow the past in on one’s own terms. Her characters’ depth and strength are shocking.

New in Paperback:

The Blue Notebook, by James Levine (Coming in July from Spiegel & Grau)

Attention, readers who liked Little Bee:  The Blue Notebook is what you should read next. It’s even better.

New Non-Fiction:

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, by Jillian Lauren (New from Plume)

A great, guilty pleasure. Lauren takes the reader along on her unlikely-but-true trip from drop-out drama student to lover of the Sultan of Brunei. Unflinching and fascinating, this screams to be included in every beach bag.

Not so new, but so, so worth reading:

The Help, by Katherine Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books)

Ok, if you haven’t read this already, get with the program, will you? It’s important. The voices ring hypnotically true and the whole book is full of insight into a pivotal and often-neglected time and place in American history. Seriously, this is your homework: read it. Bonus? You won’t be able to put it down.

Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)

Great for fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, the Twilight series and the smarter sort of paranormal set, Rosemary and Rue features a heroine who’s a PI and also? A fairy. Not your pink, glittery type fairy. No, October Daye is about as noir as they come, and so are her supernatural cohorts. There’s a lot for a reader to learn about the myth (and pronunciation) surrounding the fae, but a helpful list at the front of the book will quickly bring you up to speed (and give you a wicked advantage at scrabble).

R& R came out in 2009 and was followed this March by its sequel, A Local Habitation, which is even better. The third October Daye novel, An Artificial Night is due in September 2010. I’m looking forward to it.

On the Divinity of Second Chances, by Kaya McLaren (Penguin)

For me, this is the ultimate feel-good novel. A quirky western family with some serious issues discovers (each member in their own style) that second chances are out there waiting for us all, one way or another. Surprising and different and full of humor, I like this even more than McLaren’s first book, Church of the Dog  (which was no slouch either).

Fluke, by Christopher Moore (Harper)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I do love me some Christopher Moore novels. This one is perfect for summer. Self described “Action Nerd” and marine behavioral biologist Nathan Quinn records, photographs and generally pesters humpback whales off Maui. His crew includes Amy (research assistant and “goth geek of the Pacific”), diver and cameraman Clay Demodocus, and dude-of-all-work, Kona —  a white-boy Rastaman from New Jersey. Things just get weirder from there. I dare you not to laugh.


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Chet Meets His Match

I’m cat sitting this week. I like all animals (some more than others – for instance, if a car salesman’s family were to go out of town for the week, I would not agree to look after him until their return). But I’m normally more of a dog person than a cat person.

This cat is a dog.

Her name is Nessie (after the chocolate, not the monster) and she comes when she’s called. She loves to be brushed. She’s a Persian and has more hair than any creature I have ever met. Beautiful, shiny hair, with all that brushing.

She does not fetch (so far), but then I’ve had dogs who wouldn’t fetch either. She is also affectionate to the point of self-destruction. Cat sitting almost became a literal description of what I am doing when she crept silently onto the the chair I was about to plunk down in this morning.

Not Nessie. Not my picture either.

She thinks she likes coffee. I am trying to persuade her otherwise. Worst case scenario: her people return from their vacation and I must report that their cat has not slept all week. So far I have been successful at keeping her away from caffeinated beverages, but she is persistent and my morning reflexes are not all that fast.

The whole thing does sort of remind me of Chet, the giant vampire cat from Christopher Moore\’s books. Except Nessie is a force for good. And all she wants is a coffee buzz.

Off to ply her with cat toys…

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Waiting in traffic today, I noticed an odd thing. There in front of me, stopped at the light was what looked a lot like a hearse but was certainly an SUV. It was black with curious silver trim and tinted windows in the back.

Well, I thought, that’s practical. Our society has reached a point in automobile manufacture where ordinary vehicles are large enough to schlep the dead. Undertakers and Mafia hitmen, rejoice! The strange thing? It had a roof rack.

So I suppose if you were hoping to take your skis with you to the afterlife, you’re in luck.

Maybe it’s just a family car owned by someone with strangely funereal tastes. I picture a goth soccer mom in striped tights with ironic tats and black-black dyed hair. In the greater suburbia of my mind, she stands on the sidelines, her arm around a tearful little girl in cleats, saying, “It’s Ok, Sweets. Winners are losers.”

I hope they come into the bookstore. Maybe they’ll bring Christopher Moore…  Click here to see a wee video about his latest book.

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