New in Hardcover:
- Next by Michael Crichton
The thriller master revisits the wild and wacky world of genetics run amok that proved so insanely profitable in Jurassic Park. I always find it worrisome when publisher text fails to give any indication of characters or plot and just makes broad statements about "blend[ing] fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems."
However, USA Today claims, "If you didn't care for Crichton's last two techno-novels...it's time to kiss and make up. He's in top form." So pucker up!
- Brother Odd by Dean R. Koontz
The third installment of Koontz's Odd Thomas series features the young fry cook who sees dead people encountering eccentric monks, the ghost of Elvis, and a killer stalking the halls of a monastery. "[A]n irresistibly offbeat mix of supernatural horror and laugh-out-loud humor," swears Publishers Weekly — which must certainly be better than an offbeat mix of supernatural humor and laugh-out-loud horror, right?
- Acme Novelty Library #17 by Chris Ware
The publisher's copy for the brilliant-but-gloomy Ware's new book is priceless and says everything better than I ever could:
Undaunted by lukewarm Internet and blogospheric opinion ("flat," "slow," and "always dreary") of his meretricious return last year to the tradition of the American comic book with the sixteenth issue of his ACME Novelty Library, cartoonist and professional sentimentalist Chris Ware returns with the seventeenth issue of this same title, and it is almost certain not to change general public opinion.
Like the irritating distant family member you only have to see once a year, The ACME Novelty Library #17 will, as was its predecessor, be published by the author in a single, limited edition only, never to be reprinted until the entire library is collected as a single volume, though it may be promptly remaindered and/or discarded.
- Gravity's Rainbow Illustrated: One Picture for Every Page by Zak Smith
Admit it — the only thing that could improve on everybody's favorite complex Pynchon tome is pictures. A leading exponent of punk-based, DIY art, Zak Smith presents his most ambitious project to date — an art book exactly as long as the work it's interpreting: 760 drawings, paintings, photos, and less definable images in 760 pages. You know it's those "less definable images" that true Pynchon fans will latch onto.
- Empire by Orson Scott Card
SF master Card gets away from his brilliant-kids-fighting-futuristic-wars novels for a one-off that imagines what might happen if the blue states went to war against the red states. Just imagine that: hybrid cars tricked out with armor plating going head-to-head against gas-guzzling tanks. Soldiers carrying automatic rifles (intended for deer hunting, of course) facing off against protestors chanting loud songs. People with money fighting alongside the nation's poorest against people who eat tofu. Doesn't this scenario seem a bit lop-sided to you?
- Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
Famed adventurer Dirk Pitt is conducting a routine investigation of a starship he used to captain when an old nemesis, exiled to a faraway planet long ago, returns for revenge. The plastic-chested warrior Khan will traverse nebulas to get his hands on the powerful Genesis torpedo, all the while quoting Moby-Dick. Finally, when he is left for dead on an abandoned space station, Dirk will bellow so loudly that his voice will echo through the airless, soundless sargasso of space: "KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!"
- Full Moon by P.G. Wodehouse
Another immortal Wodehouse classic is reprinted in Overlook Press's continuing campaign to get all of his hilarious books back into print. This one is a charming Blandings comedy with a full Wodehouse complement of aunts, pigs, millionaires, colonels, imposters, and dotty earls.
Best when read in a wingback chair with a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits.
New in paperback:
- S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Hey, didja hear? The '80s are back in, man! That means Grafton's alphabet mysteries, which began in the '80s and have been rooted there ever since, are even hipper now than when she started! So kick back and return to the halcyon days of shoulder pads, feathered hair with bangs, neon-colored plastic jewelry, and pop sings with hooks that are as insanely catchy as the lyrics are instantly forgettable.
- The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury
A debut thriller about the order of the Knights Templar involving ancient conspiracies, secrets of Christian theology, historical puzzles, and complex codes — but nary a Da Vinci painting in sight. Not to worry: Library Journal assures us, "For those fatigued by the recent spate of Mary Magdalene/Holy Grail books, this novel will come as a welcome relief."
- Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Funny thing about the reviews for the latest book by the author of The Pilot's Wife — the critics didn't seem to like it, but they felt certain that Shreve's readership would. I quote from Kirkus: "One of this talented author's lesser efforts, though fans will probably be satisfied..."
And from Booklist: "[The characters'] emotions seem too neat and their responses somewhat formulaic. Nevertheless, Shreve's expert pacing produces a fast read that will more than satisfy her many fans."
And the San Jose Mercury News: "The Shreve faithful will most likely buy into the story."
So, I guess, if you're already a fan, you'll be happy to know the critics are watching out for you — and recommend that you read this book.
- Penny Arcade Volume 3: The Warsun Prophecies by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
Why pay for reprints of the popular comic strip when you can read it for free online? Two words: bathroom reading.
Seriously — try taking your laptop to the loo and watch your legs fall asleep! This book, which reprints all of Penny Arcade's 2002 strips, is far more toilet-friendly.
÷ ÷ ÷
Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post