Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Start your new year of reading with these January and February literary delights



The end of 2010 is nigh,bringing forth a shiny new year of pop culture presents to unwrap and that includes fresh new bundles of books. Now some of you are no doubt saying,"Come on,Lady T-my To Be Read pile is still backed up from last summer!"

Well,if like me,you are currently hunkering down until the blizzard snow has been swept up and away,that should give you more than a chance to catch up. Otherwise,a good way to motivate your reading speed is to see all of the great stuff coming out and there's sure to be something that you don't want to miss out on:

TRULY OFF THE BEATEN PATH



One of the most highly anticipated novels of 2011 is Jonathan Evison's West of Here,which tells the tale of Port Bonita,a town whose past and present are about to collide. Stories of the first settlers are interlaced with a look at the current residents,some of whom wish that they could go back to a time when living off the land seemed to be the best option.

Evison worked on this second novel for a long time and it's one of those labors of love that seem to be just another writer's cliche but the man is really walking the walk as well as talking the talk. It may be too soon to mention awards but I won't be surprised to see that West of Here show up on a couple of nomination lists by this time next year(February):





Another destined to be talked about novel is The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore,a debut offering from Benjamin Hale. Bruno is a chimp born in captivity and living a less than satisfying life at the zoo when a group of scientists select him as a likely candidate for their experiments in advancing animal communication.

The results are more than anyone expected,as Bruno learns to speak and gains an almost human level of intelligence,even to the point of artistic expression. Little do they know that Bruno's prime motivation is his love for Dr. Lydia Littlemore,his most devoted researcher.

Their connection winds up crossing lines that neither human or simian society wish to deal with and things get stranger from there. This may not be for all tastes but Bruno Littlemore is quite the intriguing as well as erudite leading man who has a story that's worth listening to. It sounds a bit like science fiction but trust me when I say that this brash first novel feels like tomorrow's headlines today(February):



A TOUCH OF FRENCH INTRIGUE



No sooner than we have unraveled a Pink Carnation Christmas story,another sweet spy adventure from Lauren Willig will be upon us. The Orchid Affair sends Laura Grey, a new graduate from the Selwick School for Spies ,into the household of Andre Jaouen,who works at the side of Bonaparte's minister of police.

Her position as governess to Andre's children offers Laura plenty of opportunity to check out his secret dealings and schemes but it also gives her a deeper insight into Andre's heart as well. This develops into a romance on the run,which many fans of this enchanting series will be doing to seize this latest addition to the gothic governess genre(January):





Elena Mauli Shapiro takes her readers on an unusual journey into one woman's life in 13,Rue Therese as Trevor,an academic from America,is fascinated by the contents of a mysterious box that holds her personal trinkets dating back to WWI.

As Trevor pieces together the details of Louise Brunet's life and loves,he starts to get an appreciation of what might be right under his nose in terms of true love.

The plot is told through the found letters and other objects within the box,becoming a treasure hunt that yields emotional gems along with shimmering strands of storytelling wonder(February).

TWO LADIES' ADVENTURES ABROAD



When Eleonora Cohen is born in 1877,a prophesy regarding her future was fulfilled several years later as she stowed away with her merchant father and traveled to a distant land that was key to the Ottoman Empire.

In Michael David Lukas' The Oracle of Stamboul, eight year old Eleonora becomes a prime fixture at the sultan's court when her amazing intellect is the talk of the country. Her advice is sorted after by several influential folk,some of whom are without scruple in swaying her statements regarding political matters.

As the fate of more than one nation lies in the balance,Eleonora must learn to choose her words and alliances wisely. I'll be participating in the blog tour for this debut novel this upcoming midwinter season,where this fanciful tale will come to life for all to discover(February).



The subtitle for Tamara Chalabi's true life story,Late For Tea at the Deer Palace,is "the lost dreams of my Iraqi family" and is the main thread of her recounting of the trip she took with her father in 2003 back to their ancestral homeland.

While the men in her family had many numerous political involvements that lead to their flight from the country,Tamara talks mostly about the struggles of her female predecessors.

From her grandmother's rebellions at the restrictions of her life to the domestic dramas that mirror the conflicts within their changing world,Tamara offers us a glimpse into a world that we think we know all too well but truly don't(January):



DOUBLE TROUBLE DARLINGS



The leading lady in Deborah Harkness' first novel truly makes A Discovery of Witches as she unearths an ancient manuscript that drags her kicking and screaming into a realm that she wants to avoid like the plague.

Diana Bishop prefers to spend her time and talents as a Yale historian but her research discovery attracts the notice of powerful vampire Matthew Clairmont,who agrees to give her his protection when Diana is under attack from forces that wish to claim the knowledge within these newly brought to light pages.

As much as she loathes magic,Diana must use her witch ancestry to learn the truth behind the origins of the supernatural in order to survive. This lively look at the magic of books and monsters could be that perfect wine which goes with everything and hopefully every reader(February):





A lovely early Christmas surprise for me was finding out that I had won an advance copy of Pale Demon, Kim Harrison's new entry in her Rachel Morgan series,from Library Thing.

This time around,Rachel has only a few days to reach the San Francisco witches' convention to clear her name and reputation of being a black magic practitioner.

Due to her dubious status,however,Rachel is not allowed to travel by plane so she hits the road with her trusty pals Jinks and Ivy,plus longtime frenemy Trent Kalamack hitches along for the ride with an agenda of his own.If things weren't bad enough,there is also the added bonus of a crazed demon on the loose that's making a sure and steady path in their direction.

Rachel is no stranger to juggling several scary plates in the air but this chain of eerie events promises to be able to overwhelm her traveling band and lead them into trouble that they can't get out of. As the Clint Eastwood flick that this book(and every Harrison title) takes it's name from,a hell of a ride awaits those who sign on for this rough and ready road trip(February):



So,these set of fresh new reads should be a great way to celebrate as well as comfort us through the long dreary days of winter weather ahead of us. However,we are not entirely free of holiday expectations as people will soon be looking for love along with new releases at their local bookseller.

If you do choose to mix your literary and love lives together,please try not to take out your frustrations on the bookstore staff. They're really just doing their job and have to follow the rules,despite the discount dilemmas of the day:

4 comments:

Melissa said...

I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches. It reminded me a little of the Outlander series. And Bruno Littlemore has been on my to-read list for a couple of months! Can't wait to read it.

Greg Zimmerman said...

Definitely looking forward to West of Here - seems to be the one novel to make everyone's list. Love that video, too - thanks!

Jonathan Evison said...

hooray! thanks for the west of here love!

lady t said...

Jonathan,you're very welcome and I'm sure that the West of Here love will be growing steadily amongst readers and critics alike throughout 2011.

Greg & Melissa-thanks for checking this out and looking forward to talking about more great books with you next year:)