Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Sunday Grabbag of Books
In 1886, Gretta Pope wakes one morning to discover that her husband is gone. Ulysses Pope has left his family behind on the far edge of Minnesota's western prairie with only the briefest of notes and no explanation for why he left or where he's headed.

It doesn't take long for Gretta's young sons, Eli and Danny, to set off after him, following the scant clues they can find, jumping trains to get where they need to go, and ending up in the rugged badlands of Montana. Gretta has no choice but to search for her sons and her husband, leading her to the doorstep of a woman who seems intent on making Ulysses her own. Meanwhile, the boys find that the closer they come to Ulysses' trail, the greater the perils that confront them, until each is faced with a choice about whom he will defend, and who he will become.

Enger's breathtaking portrait of the vast plains landscape is matched by the rich expanse of his characters' emotional terrain, as pivotal historical events--the bloody turmoil of expansionism, the near total demise of the bison herds, and the subjugation of the Plains Indians--blend seamlessly with the intimate story of a family's sacrifice and devotion.
The evidence is irrefutable: In sixteen New York Times bestsellers over the course of as many years, Kathy Reichs has proven herself “a genius at building suspense” (New York Daily News). In forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, Reichs has created a detective fiction heroine who’s brilliant to the bone. “Every minute in the morgue with Tempe is golden,” says The New York Times Book Review

In the acclaimed author’s thrilling new novel, Brennan is at the top of her game in a battle of wits against the most monstrous adversary she has ever encountered.

Unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit, Dr. Temperance Brennan wonders why she’s been asked to meet with a homicide cop who’s a long way from his own jurisdiction. The shocking answer: Two child murders, separated by thousands of miles, have one thing in common—the killer. Years ago, Anique Pomerleau kidnapped and murdered a string of girls in Canada, then narrowly eluded capture. It was a devastating defeat for her pursuers, Brennan and police detective Andrew Ryan. Now, as if summoned from their nightmares, Pomerleau has resurfaced in the United States, linked to victims in Vermont and North Carolina. When another child is snatched, the reign of terror promises to continue—unless Brennan can rise to the challenge and make good on her second chance to stop a psychopath.

But Brennan will have to draw her bitter ex-partner out of exile, keep the local police and feds from one another’s throats, and face more than just her own demons as she stalks the deadliest of predators into the darkest depths of madness.

In Bones Never Lie, Kathy Reichs never fails to satisfy readers looking for psychological suspense that’s more than skin-deep.
Hugo Marston has just joined the State Department as head of security at the US Embassy in London. His task is to protect a pair of spoiled movie stars, Dayton Harper and his wife Ginny Ferro, whose reckless driving killed a prominent landowner in rural England.

The job turns from routine to disastrous almost immediately. Before Hugo has a chance to meet Harper or Ferro, he finds out that the woman has disappeared, and soon her body is found hanging from an oak tree in a London cemetery. Hours later a distraught Harper slips away from his protector, and Hugo has no idea where he's going.

Teaming up with a secretive young lady named Merlyn, Hugo's search leads to a quaint English village. There, instead of finding Harper, another body turns up in the church graveyard.

But now the killer knows he's being tailed. At one of England's most famous tourist spots, the self-appointed executioner prepares for the final act of his murderous spree. And Hugo arrives just in time to play his part...
Colonial New Guinea—1906: a small group of mostly German nudists live an extreme back-to-nature existence on the remote island of Kabakon. Eating only coconuts and bananas, they purport to worship the sun. One of their members—Max Lutzow—has recently died, allegedly from malaria. But an autopsy on his body in the nearby capital of Herbertshöhe raises suspicions about foul play.

Retired British military police officer Will Prior is recruited to investigate the circumstances of Lutzow’s death. At first, the eccentric group seems friendly and willing to cooperate with the investigation. They all insist that Lutzow died of malaria. Despite lack of evidence for a murder, Prior is convinced that the group is hiding something.

Things come to a head during a late-night feast supposedly given as a send-off for the visitors before they return to Herbertshöhe. Prior fears that the intent of the “celebration” is not to fete the visitors but to make them the latest murder victims.
With his uncanny ability to spark life in the past, Robert Darnton re-creates three historical worlds in which censorship shaped literary expression in distinctive ways.

In eighteenth-century France, censors, authors, and booksellers collaborated in making literature by navigating the intricate culture of royal privilege. Even as the king's censors outlawed works by Voltaire, Rousseau, and other celebrated Enlightenment writers, the head censor himself incubated Diderot's great Encyclopedie by hiding the banned project s papers in his Paris townhouse. Relationships at court trumped principle in the Old Regime.

Shaken by the Sepoy uprising in 1857, the British Raj undertook a vast surveillance of every aspect of Indian life, including its literary output. Years later the outrage stirred by the British partition of Bengal led the Raj to put this knowledge to use. Seeking to suppress Indian publications that it deemed seditious, the British held hearings in which literary criticism led to prison sentences. Their efforts to meld imperial power and liberal principle fed a growing Indian opposition.

In Communist East Germany, censorship was a component of the party program to engineer society. Behind the unmarked office doors of Ninety Clara-Zetkin Street in East Berlin, censors developed annual plans for literature in negotiation with high party officials and prominent writers. A system so pervasive that it lodged inside the authors heads as self-censorship, it left visible scars in the nation s literature. By rooting censorship in the particulars of history, Darnton's revealing study enables us to think more clearly about efforts to control expression past and present.
John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no other. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.

With vivid cameos of the formative influences in Williams' life his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mother Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who was lobotomized at the age of thirty-three; his beloved grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin.  Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as much a biography of the man who created "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Glass Menagerie", and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" as it is a trenchant exploration of Williams s plays and the tortured process of bringing them to stage and screen.

The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until he was twenty-six, he had serial homosexual affairs thereafter as well as long-time, bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. With compassion and verve, Lahr explores how Williams' relationships informed his work and how the resulting success brought turmoil to his personal life.

Lahr captures not just Williams s tempestuous public persona but also his backstage life, where his agent Audrey Wood and the director Elia Kazan play major roles, and Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Bette Davis, Maureen Stapleton, Diana Barrymore, and Tallulah Bankhead have scintillating walk-on parts. This is a biography of the highest order: a book about the major American playwright of his time written by the major American drama critic of his time.
A collection of essays and other nonfiction from Terry Pratchett, spanning the whole of his writing career from his early years to the present day. With a foreword by Neil Gaiman.

Terry Pratchett has earned a place in the hearts of readers the world over with his bestselling Discworld series -- but in recent years he has become equally well-known and respected as an outspoken campaigner for causes including Alzheimer's research and animal rights. A Slip of the Keyboard brings together for the first time the finest examples of Pratchett's non-fiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana daiquiris are so important); from memories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf's love life, and passionate defences of the causes dear to him.

With all the humor and humanity that have made his novels so enduringly popular, this collection brings Pratchett out from behind the scenes of the Discworld to speak for himself -- man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek, champion of hats, orangutans and Dignity in Dying.

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