Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Warming up to some upcoming Novemeber/December reads

We're getting close to the big holiday shopping season that will be followed by those cold,snow stormy days and nights which make having a good book to read essential for your entertainment purposes.

Sure, there will be plenty of bestsellers to choose from(and I'll be mentioning a couple of potential ones here) but sometimes, the better choice is the lesser known. A few of those titles will crop up in this preview for November and December, hopefully making your book buying a little bit easier:


 Let's begin with some big names, starting with Stephen King whose upcoming short story collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, is a mix of previously published work and new material.

King really loves the short story genre, so it's not surprising that one of the tales in this book involves an e-reader linked to an alternate universe that has more Raymond Carver stories than ours. Other sinister story lines include a man and his dog at the end of the world, a spooky little boy with a propeller beanie and a man reliving his life over and over, making the same mistakes along the way.

As grandly lengthy as his novels can be, King does know how to make a short story sing out with bittersweet beauty and pain, something that not every writer can do well. If you're up for small slices of solid good writing, this is your one-stop shopping,folks(November):

In Dean Koontz's upcoming novel Ashley Bell, a young woman named Bibi Blair is given only one year to live, a diagnosis that she takes with the attitude, "we'll see." Her complete recovery astonishes doctors yet a mystery woman believes that Bibi has been spared in order to protect the unknown Ashley.

Bibi has no idea why she's been chosen for this task but soon has no choice in the matter as a powerful cult leader makes her a target for trouble. In pursuing Ashley, Bibi pools her inner resources to save the day for both of them and maybe many others.

It's been awhile since I've read Koontz but his writing does hold that page turning magic and this book sounds like another pulse pounding good time to be had by all(December).


 While Agatha Christie is renowned for her multitude of mystery novels, she also had a thriving set of plays in her portfolio of suspense as well. In Curtains Up, Julius Green explores the passion that Christie had for the theater and the impact of her play writing upon that world.

Her interest began in childhood and extracts of her early work is included in the book, along with revelations about some of the creative choices she had to make in giving her plays their own separate attention from her increasingly popular detective series featuring Hercule Poirot.

Green also adds some correspondence between Christie, her theatrical agents and producers, including exclusive letters from Sir Peter Saunders who was a major man behind the scenes. For Christie fans and theater folk, this book should be perfect catnip to suit those who adore the art of her Mousetrap(December):


 In Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving introduces us to Juan Diego, a successful novelist whose memories of childhood come back to haunt him during a trip to the Philippines.

The time period of his past that is featured heavily in his thoughts is when he was fourteen and living in Mexico with his psychic sister Lupe, whose visions of the future drive her to make a decision that alters the destiny of her and Juan Diego in more ways than one.

Irving's novels do tend to touch upon the metaphysical at times, with varying success, and it looks as if Avenue of Mysteries takes a firmer grip on that genre aspect here. Should be interesting to see how far he goes with that element this time out(November):

The leading lady of Isabel Allende's The Japanese Lover is Alma, who was sent to America at age 8 in order to escape the rising forces threatening her family in Poland at the start of WWII.

As she grows up, Alma bonds with both her cousin Nate and the son of the family gardener Ichimei. Over time, her feelings for Ichimei turn romantic and are returned yet they must hide their love from society at large. Nate helps with that, to some extent, but can not prevent Ichimei and his father from being interned by the government.

During her old age, Alma moves into a rest home yet receives an interesting correspondence that may possibly be from her former beau. Could a reunion of the heart be possible? Allende is fond of multi-generational stories and this seems to be one that displays her artistic soul at it's best(November):


 Julie Klassen goes old school again with her upcoming novel, The Painter's Daughter, as her heroine Sophia Dupont is torn between love and honor.

Abandoned by the amorous Wesley, Sophia finds herself with child and in need of a husband to make things right. Wesley's younger and  much more responsible brother Stephen steps in to offer a marriage of convenience, with the dubious advantage of her becoming a widow due to his upcoming call to duty in fighting Napoleon.

While Sophia does accept Stephen's proposal, she doubts that her love for Wesley will ever end. However, when Wesley does finally return from Italy, she is surprised to discover that her feelings for Stephen are just as strong. Klassen's knack for engaging period novels with classic flair make The Painter's Daughter a fine fictional portrait for any literary gallery to showcase indeed(December).

The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene has a trio of female leads, all of whom join forces to find tearooms other than the title one to be prominently featured in a local magazine.

Journalist Charlie adores the Seafront but is willing to take the suggestions of single mom Kat(who wants to protect the place from tourist traffic) and Seraphine, a French au pair, in seeking out more suitable secluded getaways for her article.

As the ladies travel forth, they bond over shared secrets, dreams and love of a good cup of tea. I'm not familiar with this author but this book sounds like a soothing pot of simmering delights that certainly could warm the heart and mind(December).

 Well, I hope that one or more of these titles winds up in your holiday shopping cart or as a gift wrapped surprise for you this season. I know how cliche it is to say that books are a gift you can open again and again but it's said so often for a good reason.

A book is one of those things that don't require you to be a certain size, have a license or own the right pair of matching shoes for. Granted, not every book may be right for you but chances are, it will be a perfect fit for someone else and you can't say that about everything, even gift cards:

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