Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wendy's Recommending:
With The Blazing World, internationally best-selling author Siri Hustvedt returns to the New York art world in her most masterful and urgent novel since What I Loved.

Hustvedt, who has long been celebrated for her "beguiling, lyrical prose" (The Sunday Times Books, London), tells the provocative story of the artist Harriet Burden. After years of watching her work ignored or dismissed by critics, Burden conducts an experiment she calls "Maskings." She presents her own art behind three male masks, concealing her female identity.
The three solo shows are successful, but when Burden finally steps forward triumphantly to reveal herself as the artist behind the exhibitions, there are critics who doubt her. The public scandal turns on the final exhibition, initially shown as the work of acclaimed artist Rune, who denies Burden's role in its creation.

What no one doubts, however, is that the two artists were intensely involved with each other. As Burden's journals reveal, she and Rune found themselves locked in a charged and dangerous game that ended with the man's bizarre death.

Ingeniously presented as a collection of texts compiled after Burden's death, The Blazing World unfolds from multiple perspectives. The exuberant Burden speaks--in all her joy and fury--through extracts from her own notebooks, while critics, fans, family members, and others offer their own conflicting opinions of who she was, and where the truth lies.

From one of the most ambitious and internationally renowned writers of her generation, The Blazing World is a polyphonic tour de force. An intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle, it explores the deceptive powers of prejudice, money, fame, and desire. Emotionally intense, intellectually rigorous, ironic, and playful, Hustvedt's new novel is a bold, rich masterpiece, one that will be remembered for years to come.
Beloved bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has been hailed by Abraham Verghese as a "gifted storyteller" and by People magazine as a "skilled cartographer of the heart." Now, Divakaruni returns with her most gripping novel yet, a sweeping, suspenseful coming-of-age tale about a young woman who leaves India for America on a search that will transform her life.

Though she was orphaned at birth, the wild and headstrong Korobi Roy has enjoyed a privileged childhood with her adoring grandparents, spending her first seventeen years sheltered in a beautiful, crumbling old mansion in Kolkata. But despite all that her grandparents have done for her, she is troubled by the silence that surrounds the circumstances of her parents' death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found, years ago, hidden in a book of poetry that had belonged to her mother. As she grows, Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents', and it seems her wish has finally come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile business family.

Shortly after their engagement, however, a sudden heart attack kills Korobi's grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi's past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents' betrayal, Korobi decides to undertake a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will ultimately thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

With flawless narrative instinct and a boundless sympathy for her irrepressible characters, in Oleander Girl Divakaruni brings us a perfect treat of a novel-- moving, wise, and unforgettable. The Wall Street Journal raves, "Divakaruni emphasizes the cathartic force of storytelling with sumptuous prose. . . . She defies categorization."
What would you sacrifice to protect your way of life?

In the sixteenth century, a young nun risks everything to defy the most powerful authorities, fulfill a prophecy, and preserve the future of Christendom.

In 1538, England's bloody power struggle between crown and cross threatens to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford, an aristocratic nun, has tasted the wrath of the royal court when her rebel cousin was burned at the stake and father brutally tortured in the Tower of London. Having seen what lies within the king's torture rooms, Joanna just barely escaped death at the hands of those desperate to possess the power of an ancient relic.

Even with all that she has experienced, the quiet life is not for Joanna. Despite the possibilities of arrest and imprisonment, she becomes caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting Henry VIII himself. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna realizes her role is more critical than she'd ever imagined. She must choose between those she loves most and fulfilling a prophecy foretold by three seers. Repelled by violence, Joanna seizes a future with a man who loves her. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape her sinister destiny. To learn the final piece of the prophecy, she flees across Europe with a corrupt spy sent by Spain. As she completes the puzzle in the dungeon of a twelfth-century fortress, Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands...

The sequel to The Crown, which was praised as "an engrossing thriller" by Entertainment Weekly, The Chalice is no less rich in historical detail and suspense. Fans of historical fiction as well as mysteries will revel in this engrossing tale of love, conspiracy, intrigue, and adventure
What you do know can kill you . . .

When Boston reporter Alexandra James is assigned to cover the death of Thom Carlyle, the son of a powerful Washington insider, she soon discovers the story is not as simple as it seems. The young man fell from the top of a Harvard bell tower, but did he jump . . . or was he pushed?

Intent on escaping the demons of her past, Alex knows how to outwork, outdrink, and outshop anyone else around. Now she is focused on what could be "the story of a lifetime"--chasing leads from Harvard Yard to the courtyards of Cambridge, England, from a clandestine rendezvous in London to the inside of a nuclear terrorist network. But when she goes to Washington, DC, for a key interview that promises to tie everything together, Alex the hunter becomes Alex the hunted. An assassin is dispatched. . . . Her laptop disappears. . . . Her phone is tapped. . . . And she begins to grasp that Thom Carlyle may have been killed to hide a terrifying conspiracy within the White House itself.

Former NPR Intelligence correspondent Mary Louise Kelly has turned her own real-life reporting adventures into fiction with this stylish spy thriller..
It is one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavors--from Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts--are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.

The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both a void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise--a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit--makes the case that many of our greatest triumphs come from understanding the importance of this mystery.

This exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavor. The Rise begins with narratives about figures past and present who range from writers to entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F. B. Morse, and J. K. Rowling, for example, feature alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize-winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, and psychology professor Angela Duckworth.

The Rise explores the inestimable value of often ignored ideas--the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, the propulsion of the near win on the road to mastery, and the importance of grit and creative practice. From an uncommonly insightful writer, The Rise is a true masterwork.
Filled with humor, insight, and faith, this true story tells how one woman overcame challenges, stereotypes, and personal struggles at Harvard Divinity School and emerged an ordained minister.

As a bright young girl from Ohio, Andrea Raynor always wanted to be a doctor. Instead, she landed-- almost by accident--at Harvard Divinity School, which, she quickly discovered, was no typical semi-nary. When she attended, in the 1980s, HDS was a place overflowing with creative expression and freedom of thought. Her classmates included two men who were undergoing sex changes and a woman who fancied herself a geisha. There was a lively gay and lesbian caucus, marches on Washington, civil disobedience, and more sexual intrigue than could be found in a stereotypical college fraternity house.

Providing a bird's-eye view of life within the hallowed halls (and beneath the crimson robes), Incognito is a humorous and poignant glimpse inside one of the nation's most revered institutions. It begins with the long drive from Ohio to Cambridge and ends at the bedside of a dying young woman. But the real story is about the challenges, surprises, and ultimately life-changing experiences Andrea faced on the road to understanding God's call for her life. From navigating relation-ships to exploring whether a pretty girl can truly wear a collar, Incognito tackles our assumptions about spirituality, the church, morality, and identity, and affirms that God often works in ways--and in people--we least expect.

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