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Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A few literary gifts to consider this November and December

With Halloween arriving in a couple of days, the huge cloud of holiday shopping that looms over November and December is getting mighty close there.

In order to make your shopping sprees a tad easier(as well as maybe picking up a little gift for yourself along the way), our handy LRG book preview selection is all set to offer you plenty of treats for the upcoming season:


 Fans of Adriana Trigiani's novels about  Valentine Roncalli will be thrilled to see the long awaited third piece of the puzzle arrive to complete the trilogy.

The Supreme Macaroni Company has our heroine accepting the marriage proposal of Gianluca, an older and somewhat wiser man whose tannery compliments her shoemaker ambitions nicely. However, harmony is not guaranteed as family and friend complications threaten to make this blissful arrangement a less than perfect match.

 It helps if you're familiar with the earlier novels(Very Valentine and Brava Valentine) but then again, it's a great excuse to pick up all three. As with many connections of the heart, Trigiani skillfully blends a variety of storytelling spices to make her books as sweet as any offering on a cookie table and clever enough to keep from being cloying(November):

 In The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, author Fannie Flag introduces us to Sookie Poole, who only wants to take things easy after her grown daughters are now settled down into marriage.

The remaining thorn in her side,however, is her mother Lenore, a never shy with her attitude lady whose unbridled behavior causes no end of grief. Looking into her mother's past, Sookie discovers a connection between Lenore and a family of four sisters who ran a filling station,even when one of them joined the WASPS(female airforce pilots) during WWII.

As Sookie learns more about the family, she gleams some insights into her own blood ties and decides to make a few much needed changes in her life. Part of the appeal of this novel is the depiction of WASPs and their contribution to our country. Leave it to Flagg to bring such engaging real life ladies to the forefront with her brand of fabulous fiction(November):


It's been several years since we had a new book from Amy Tan and no doubt her new novel will be well worth the wait. The Valley of Amazement  follows more than one generation of women from Shanghai to San Francisco, beginning with Violet, a former courtesan who struggles with the challenges that her path in life has given her.

Part of the reason for choosing certain directions in which to go is due to her mother Lulu, an American who fell in love with a Chinese painter and took a chance on a new life. Those choices are echoed in similar yet somewhat different fashion by Violet and extend to even their descendants.

Mother-daughter drama is familiar territory for Amy Tan but she does it so well that you can't wish for anything more from this dynamic author(November):


The genius of late comedian Richard Pryor is explored in Furious Cool,written by a pair of brothers,David and Joe Henry,who may be planning a film based on their research as well.The subtitle of this biography,"and the world that made him",displays the pop culture influence of Pryor's work that still resonates with audiences today.

Like many of his fellow stand-up comedians,he started out as a mainstream entertainer who evolved into a more nuanced and risk taking artist whose personal woes often overlapped into all areas of his life.

The Henry brothers examine the impact of Richard Pryor's personal and professional choices that shaped his legacy,with insights from those who knew him best and for those who never will experience his talents firsthand, this is a powerful introduction to a true master of his craft(November):


In Barbara Mutch's debut novel,The Housemaid's Daughter, Irish woman Catherine Harrington journeys to South Africa to join her  husband Edward at his estate Cradock House in 1919.

Feeling very out of place in her new home,Catherine forms a bond with young Ada,the daughter of her housekeeper and treats her more like her own child. That relationship is sorely tested as Ada is forced to leave Chadock House at age seventeen after being morally betrayed by Edward and then becoming an outsider amongst her own people.

Catherine is not made aware of the situation until too late in the game,yet she persists in reconnecting with Ada even as numerous social changes are erupting all around them. This book offers an engaging look at what brings people together,who seem to be destined to be apart, in more ways than one(December).

We couldn't end this year of celebrating Pride and Prejudice without one more book about the Bennet sisters and Pamela Mingle 's upcoming contribution focuses on the most overlooked of the ladylike lot.

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet takes place three years after the leading lady of the title has seen her elder siblings suitably wed,along with younger sister Lydia still causing trouble with her feckless spouse.

When a fresh scandal from that particular end of the family arises, Mary and her other unattached sister Kitty are set off to stay for a while with Jane and Bingley,where they make the acquaintance of Henry Walsh, a most suitable suitor. However, Mary is doubtful of her charms as her merits have always been firmly placed in the basket of her mental talents. While Mary Bennet has been given a spotlight before, this new novel promises to allow her to sing to her true heart's content(November):


 Dean Koontz never fails to release a pulse pounding thriller in time for the holidays and Innocence even has a wintery cover to boot. The coldness of the story is in the isolation that both leads share,Addison whose distorted physical features turn many away from discovering his true worth and Gwyneth, a young woman haunted by the mysterious death of her father.

The two of them encounter one another in a deserted library,where Addison curates rare books, and Gwyneth's surprise at meeting him soon gives way into a trust that allows her to tell him of her suspicions regarding the man she believes poisoned her dad. As they both become targets of this mutual enemy,Addison and Gwyneth must dig deep into themselves to find the best plan of action,along with a more intimate alliance.

Koontz is best known for his frightful set-ups but it's the emotional connections between his characters that has brought him a legion of loyal readers. Innocence sounds like one of those fine examples of his best work(December).

Happy Halloween,everyone,and we'll be back with another book preview for early next year just before New Year's Eve. With any luck, most of your gift giving troubles will be over by then and rants about the hectic nature of holiday shopping will no longer be necessary:

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