Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Gathering up some non-school books for some fabulous September/October fall reading

We're only a few days away from the semi-official end of summer(I consider Labor Day weekend both a beginning and an end) and while many folks are preparing for back to school, I have a few upcoming books on the horizon for September and October that are more suited for after class reading.

Granted, a couple of them are historical fiction which does offer some educational value but I wouldn't set aside those text books just yet. Especially not before midterm time.

 Personally, I think that history classes could be a bit more fun if certain history based novels were assigned along with the standard scholarly reading, with extra credit given for a compare and contrast between the fiction and the facts. That's just me, however:


 Ken Follett concludes his Century Trilogy this season with Edge of Eternity, which picks up from where this multiple family saga left off in Winter of the World(and began with Fall of Giants).

We arrive in 1961, as Berlin schoolteacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers a spy very close to home, Khrushchev aide Dmitri Dvorkin is facing a nuclear showdown with America and US lawyer George Jakes finds himself hired by the Kennedy White House for rather dubious reasons.

These characters and their descendants make their way through the turmoil of the sixties and seventies right into the complex comforts of the 1980s(with a special nod to 2008 before all is said and done), bringing human faces to changing times as well as riveting tales to tell.

Follett 's grand scale of story telling offers an inviting look at how some things changes while the ones of the truest value remain the same(September):

 Alix Christie's debut novel Gutenberg's Apprentice gives the reader an engaging behind the scenes look at the development of the fabled first printing press through the eyes of a reluctant participant.

Peter Schoeffer has been preparing for a major career in Paris of 1450 when his foster father Johann Fust summons him home to Mainz,Germany. Fust is investing a great amount of money in a new invention created by the mad genius Gutenberg but only under the condition that Peter become his apprentice.

Peter is less than thrilled at giving up his current prospects,along with mistrust of publishing a bible for the masses, but to honor his guardian, takes up this new mantle. Turns out that Gutenberg's desire to change the world via the written word is infectious and before long, Peter becomes one of his most faithful assistants and supporter. This fictional tribute to the whole reason why books exist today promises to be a must read for bibliophiles everywhere(September).


Modern day noir writer James Ellroy is best known for his literary trilogies and quartets, with a brand new one about to start up this fall. 

 Perfidia sets the scene in LA of 1941, where a gruesome murder of a Japanese family connects the only Japanese member of the police force Hideo Ashida with bitterly disillusioned captain William Parker and his rival, Sgt. Dudley Smith. Also thrown into the mix is Kay Lake, a bored young woman looking for trouble.

The attack on Pearl Harbor may or may not be a key element to this case but other forces are at play with a much darker purpose. Spy tactics, political intrigue and Bette Davis are all potent ingredients in this killer cocktail that old fans and new will set up a serious round of bar drinks for(September):

The subtitle of the nonfiction thriller Tinseltown is "murder,morphine and madness at the dawn of Hollwood", which quite a mouthful but author William J. Mann insists upon delivering just that.

Mann explores the dark side to the film making of the 1920s, with a pointed look at the mysterious death of producer William Desmond Taylor. Found dead by gunshot, there were a number of potential suspects that included many influential movers and shakers of the day yet the crime is unsolved.

Amongst the possible pack of killers is renowned producer Adolph Zukor and actress Mabel Normand, who may have inspired her former love interest director Mack Sennet to have a hand in arranging this murder and it's cover-up. For folks interested in true crime and the hey day of Hollywood, this book is a match made in a rather sinister version of heaven(October):


Philippa Gregory builds a bridge between her Cousins' War series and the Tudor family titles she is best known for in The King's Curse.

 Margaret Pole has married a man meant to protect her from the chaos of the old regimen as the new one plants roots yet she is not completely safe from the family politics as widowhood forces her to reengage with the Tudors.

As a member of the future queen Katherine of Aragon's household, Margaret does manage to keep a steady hand but unforeseen challenges cause more than one person around her to lose their grip. Faced with a troubling turn of fortune, Margaret must choose whether to stay on one side or the other in order to survive.

Gregory certainly has a way with showcasing history through the eyes of lesser known women and bringing them up to the spotlight that scholars had denied them. In this upcoming novel, she seems to have a fitting end for the White Queen saga that might perhaps lead to another great miniseries in seasons to come(September).


 The light and lively antics of Becky Bloomwood(now Brandon) continue in Shopaholic to the Stars, as our leading lady is given a chance to become a celebrity personal shopper.

In Hollywood with her little girl Minnie in order to stay close to husband Luke, Becky only wants to help both him and his superstar actress client Sage Seymour by offering her expertise in the art of wardrobe selection. However, Luke is not eager to make that happen, due to Becky's track record in that area.

When a golden opportunity to offer her services to Sage's cinematic rival lands in her lap, Becky takes off and running. Earning a nice bit of success for herself, Becky is happy to have been right all along about her skills yet those actions do  have consequences that could upset her true harmony. It's been awhile since we've had a Shopaholic novel from Sophie Kinsella and all I can say is Welcome back, Becky!(October)

Alice Simpson's debut novel Ballroom waltzes in with a set of interconnected stories about the erstwhile regulars at the New York Ballroom during the 1990s, who find a few new steps in life as well as dance.

Lonely Sarah hopes to hook up with Gabriel, who is a lover to just about woman but his wife, while ignoring the interest of fellow single Joseph. Dance teacher Henry sees love in his future with Maria, a young woman more interested in the ambitious Angel than her elderly admirer and yet all of them may be without a dance floor as the failing ballroom is on the verge of closing for good.

A graceful look at how romance and friendship can go hand in hand as well as in step with the most unlikely of partners, Ballroom sounds like it has a good beat that you can dance to(September):

Don't feel bad if you still have some summer reading left over(I know I do!) to finish up. As long as you got through a respectable number of titles on your list, look more to the positive side of the page there. In the meanwhile, adding a few new reads is only an incentive to keep on page turning, plus you never know when an old favorite might be new again:

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