Oct 1, 2011

The art of fielding - Chad Harbach

The art of fielding - Harbach, Chad

Summary: A baseball star at a small college near Lake Michigan launches a routine throw that goes disastrously off course and inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president, a gay teammate, and the president's daughter.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Sports fiction has a built-in plot problem. The drama usually rides on a team's success or failure as it moves through a season to the Big Game. The team either overcomes adversity and wins, following in the cliché-strewn tradition of everything from The Bad News Bears to Rocky, or it loses, a literately more resonant route, to be sure, but inevitably unsatisfying if the reader has become a fan along the way. First-novelist Harbach finds an inventive and thoroughly satisfying solution to the Big Game problem, and it works because the reader doesn't live or die with what happens on the field. This sprawling multiple-story saga follows the coming-of-age and midlife crises of five characters at Westish College, a small liberal-arts school in Wisconsin. At the center of it all is Henry Skrimshander, a shortstop of phenomenal ability who has led the school's baseball team to unprecedented heights. Then a wildly errant throw from Henry's usually infallible arm provides the catalyst for game-changing events not only in Henry's life but also in those of his roommate, Owen Dunne; his best friend and mentor, the team's catcher, Mike Schwartz; the school's president, Guert Affenlight; and the president's daughter, Pella. In an immediately accessible narrative reminiscent of John Irving, Harbach (cofounder of the popular literary journal n+1) draws readers into the lives of his characters, plumbing their psyches with remarkable psychological acuity and exploring the transformative effect that love and friendship can have on troubled souls. And, yes, it's a hell of a baseball story, too, no matter who wins. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Requiem for a dream - Hubert Selby

Requiem for a dream - Selby, Hubert

Summary: In Coney Island, Brooklyn, Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow, wants nothing more than to lose weight and appear on a television game show. She becomes addicted to diet pills in her obsessive quest, while her junkie son, Harry, along with his girlfriend, Marion, and his best friend, Tyrone, have devised an illicit shortcut to wealth and leisure by scoring a pound of uncut heroin. Entranced by the gleaming visions of their futures, these four convince themselves that unexpected setbacks are only temporary. Even as their lives slowly deteriorate around them, they cling to their delusions and become utterly consumed in the spiral of drugs and addiction, refusing to see that they have instead created their own worst nightmares. - (Blackwell North Amer)

Kirkus Reviews
Selby's most effective strategy has been to pummel, to wear the reader down under an inexorable heaping-up of degradations; his last, The Demon, was an embarrassing flub precisely because he tried giving his characters middle-class options--and wound up with soap opera. Here he's somewhat back on track. The abomination this time is heroin addiction. Harry Goldfarb cruises the Bronx in the company of fellow addict Tyrone C. Love and Harry's girl Marion (also a junkie). They get together, do up, space out, play the dozens, watch TV: Selby's best stroke is bringing across the grinding tedium of the addict's day, as meaningless and mechanical as an assembly line worker's. To get the daily drugs, Harry will hock suffering mama Sam's TV, he'll haul newspapers onto trucks in the middle of the night, he'll deal the junk himself to his fellow-addicts. When Harry and Tyrone get a chance to deal big, life is very sweet for a while. Then the supply drops, and life becomes vulturine. One scene stands out: a midnight Christmas heroin distribution by the local drug boss, as starving junkies enter a no-man's land in the South Bronx (even the cops are staying away) to buy the junk and then try to make it out of the area alive before they're ripped off. Lurid, nightmarishly effective. But as always with Selby, there's the question: is the numbing banality of the writing intentional or not? Maladroit characters, clumsy clichÉs (the worst Yiddish dialect ever), a sentimentally overblown ending--the book feels half-written, half-hoped. Selby, it seems clearer and clearer, isn't interested in writing novels that involve the agonies of real people: he's concerned only with the agonies themselves. His crude skills sometimes make this preoccupation seem presumptuous, other times powerful. Here, we'd have to say, the mix is 50-50. (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1978)

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Black swan green - David Mitchell

Black swan green - Mitchell, David

Summary: A meditative novel of a young boy on the cusp of adulthood follows a single year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor as he grows up in what is for him the sleepiest village in Worcestershire, England, in 1982. By the aauthor of Cloud Atlas. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ On the heels of his critically acclaimed Cloud Atlas (2004), frequent Booker Prize nominee Mitchell has left behind complicated literary constructions for this beautiful, stripped-down coming-of-age story. Our 13-year-old narrator, Jason Taylor, lives in Worcestershire's Black Swan Green with his sister and his parents. Jason suffers from a stammer, and in order to keep above the bottom rung of the social ladder, he must go to extravagant lengths to avoid using stammer words (some days those that start with n; other days, s). And he must live in the wake of his brilliant sister and mediate between his parents. The anxieties and excitements of boyhood are captured extraordinarily well here. Some will argue that Jason doesn't sound 13 (he certainly has, per day, a lot more arrestingly beautiful thoughts than does your average 13-year-old), but the narrative voice is consistent, and readers will come to believe it. Indeed, it is Mitchell's brilliant ability to reproduce internal monologue that makes this story so mesmerizing. He reproduces Jason's inner life with such astonishing verisimilitude that readers will find themselves haunted by him long after turning the last page. ((Reviewed February 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Remainder - Tom McCarthy

Remainder - McCarthy, Tom

Summary: Traumatized by an accident that involves something falling from the sky and leaves him with an outrageous sum in legal compensation, a man spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting memories and situations from his past, but when this fails to quench his thirst for authenticity, he starts reconstructing more violent events. Original. 30,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Kirkus Reviews
An assured work of existential horror from debut novelist McCarthy.The unnamed narrator begins by explaining that there's a lot he can't explain. He cannot, for example, share many details about his accident. That information is subject to a non-disclosure agreement, but it's also-more vitally-unavailable to him: He can't remember much about the accident or his life before it. He's become, very nearly, a blank, and the voice McCarthy conjures for this nonentity is an eerily precise, dumbly eloquent complement to his mental and emotional condition. Contemplating the crumbling plaster spilling out of a jagged hole in a wall, he thinks, "It looked kind of disgusting, like something that's coming out of something." That imprecision seems sloppy, but it works brilliantly to magnify the narrator's sense of abjection. The accident, which also wrecked his body, has forced him to relearn rote tasks like walking and eating. He begins to feel disconnected from other people, and he suspects that his life is no longer quite real. He decides to create his own little universe, and the millions of pounds he won in a post-accident settlement make his wishes reality. This project begins fairly innocuously, and although it quickly becomes weirder and more dangerous, McCarthy infuses the story with an uncanny sense of foreboding long before his protagonist decides to recreate a murder scene for his own amusement. It's tempting to call this a postmodern parable or allegory for a virtual age, but to reduce this novel to the level of the didactic is to overlook its considerable, creepy power.Perfectly disturbing. Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Understanding comics - Scott McCloud

Understanding comics: The invisible art - McCloud, Scott

Summary: A 215-page comic book about comics that explains the inner workings of the medium and examines many aspects of visual communication. Understanding Comics has been translated into 16 languages, excerpted in textbooks, and its ideas applied in other fields such as game design, animation, web development, and interface design.

Winner of the Harvey and Eisner Award, the Alph'art Award at Angoulême, and a New York Times Notable Book for 1994 (mass market edition).

"A landmark dissection and intellectual consideration of comics as a valid medium."-- Will Eisner

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The ten-cent plague - David Hajdu

The ten-cent plague: the great comic book scare and how it changed America - Hajdu, David

Summary: "In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created--in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. No sooner had this new culture emerged than it was beaten down by church groups, community bluestockings, and a McCarthyish Congress--only to resurface with a crooked smile on its face in Mad magazine."-- From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
The movies and rock 'n' roll have had brushes with censorship, but the comic-book industry was nearly wiped out in the 1950s by do-gooders concerned about their hypothesized detrimental effects on young readers. As Hajdu shows, comics were controversial right from their turn-of-the-century origins in newspapers, but the post–World War II development of lurid crime comic books depicting the exploits of violent gangsters aroused virulent opposition that intensified with the medium's next step—gruesome horror titles. The latter became the target of newspaper crusades, the psychiatric establishment (led by Frederic Wertham, whose 1954 screed Seduction of the Innocent became a bestseller), congressional hearings, and censorship boards in more than 50 cities. The industry, a refuge for ethnic minorities and other outsiders who reveled in the freedoms gained by working under the radar of adult audiences, survived only through self-regulation in the form of a Comics Code that stripped comics of much vitality. As a telling coda, Hajdu appends a list of nearly 900 creators who, after the crackdown, never worked in comics again. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Oblivion: stories - David Foster Wallace

Oblivion: stories - Wallace, David Foster

A collection of short stories includes "The Soul Is Not a Smithy," in which a father distracts his son from noticing a teacher's breakdown; and "The Suffering Channel," in which a sculpture artist's profile is influenced by office politics. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
An all-male focus group convenes in a Chicago office building to sample a new form of junk food under the omnivorous eyes of a psychotic statistician, while on the street a crowd gathers to watch a possibly armed man scale the glass tower. A journalist investigates an Indiana man who makes art out of his "miraculous poo." A couple goes to a sleep clinic to resolve a snoring conflict. So it goes in Wallace's first short-story collection in five years, a high-wire performance by the star of kinetically cerebral fiction. As questing a philosopher (his last book, Everything and More [BKL O 15 03], is a history of infinity) as he is a canny storyteller, the author of Infinite Jest (1996) fashions complex tales rife with shrewd metaphysical inquiries, eviscerating social critiques, and twisted humor. Profoundly intrigued with the paradoxes of being, the haphazard forging of the self, and the relentless cascade of consciousness, he has one of his obsessed narrators bemoan language's inability to convey the psyche's wildness, yet Wallace's torrential prose comes awfully close. ((Reviewed May 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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The keeper of lost causes - Adler-Olsen Jussi

The keeper of lost causes - Jussi, Adler-Olsen

Summary: Chief detective Carl Møck, recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound, is relegated to cold cases and becomes immersed in the five-year disappearance of a politician.

Booklist Reviews
"*Starred Review* Since a shooting left him injured and his partner paralyzed, Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has lost his way. His difficult personality, formerly tolerated because of his skills, has made him a liability. So his boss puts him in charge of Department Q, a cold-case Siberia that consists of Mørck and a genially obtuse assistant, Assad. There Mørck becomes intrigued by the file of Merete Lynggaard, a beautiful politician lost at sea five years ago. Here's the kicker: We know that Lynggaard is still alive, imprisoned in horrific circumstances. Adler-Olsen deftly advances both stories simultaneously. As Mørck uncovers the truth about Lynggaard's fate, Lynggaard learns why she has been singled out for an elaborate revenge. The reader's desire for the narratives to meet is so painful it's palpable. Given the Stieg Larsson effect on Scandinavian literature, it's surprising that it's taken even this long for Denmark's top crime writer to make his American debut. Comparisons are inevitable and, while he may lack a Salander, Adler-Olsen's prose is superior to Larsson's, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor. Without The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this might not have seen print here, but some will prefer it to its benefactor." Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Watchmen - Alan Moore

Watchmen - Moore, Alan

Summary: This graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all too human failings. The concept of the super hero is dissected and inverted as strangely realistic characters are stalked by an unknown assassin. Originally published as a 12 issue series in 1986 and 1987, WATCHMEN remains one of DC Comics' most popular graphic novels.

"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it’s a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
–TIME, TIME MAGAZINE’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present

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Dreams of joy - Lisa See

Dreams of joy - See, Lisa

Summary: Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father, the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Booklist Reviews
See continues the irresistible saga of May, Pearl, and Pearl's daughter, Joy, in a novel set in the immediate aftermath of the emotional events that brought her immensely popular Shanghai Girls (2009) to a fevered conclusion. Reeling with the revelation of her mother's true identity and burdened with the belief that she alone caused her father's suicide, Joy hastily flees Hollywood via a one-way ticket to the People's Republic of China. There she plans to search for her biological father and "beautiful girl" artist Li Zhi-ge, and immerse herself in the communist lifestyle, the rhetoric of which she embraced as a college student. Once she discovers what Joy has done, Pearl travels back to Shanghai at great personal risk to try and locate her daughter and convince her to return home. Both women find a nation in the throes of Chairman Mao's "Great Leap Forward" campaign, and immediately are catapulted into lives of unspeakable deprivation and gut-wrenching horror. Through the sobering experiences of a naive young girl and the sacrificial actions of her mother, See paints a vivid, haunting, and often graphic portrait of a country, and family, in crisis. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The eagerly awaited sequel to the reading-group favorite Shanghai Girls is supported by intensive marketing efforts. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Don't kill the birthday girl - Sandra Beasley

Don't kill the birthday girl: tales from an allergic life - Beasley, Sandra

Summary: When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other joys of childhood are out of the question–and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!” Tackling a long-marginalized subject, this book intertwines a cultural history and sociological study of food allergies with humorous and sometimes heartbreaking real-life experience. From a short-lived gig as a restaurant reviewer to the dates that ended with trips to the emergency room, step inside the story of a modern young woman coming to terms with a potentially deadly disorder.

"This information- and anecdote-filled book will be a welcome antidote to the worries and fears endured by families with food allergies."—Booklist

“Intelligent and witty…enthralling…thoughtful and well-written.” —Publishers Weekly

"Award winner Beasley (e.g., Barnard Women Poets) offers a cultural study of living the “allergic life.” —Library Journal

“Fascinating…humane and informative.” —Kirkus Reviews

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This life is in your hands - Melissa Coleman

This life is in your hands: one dream, sixty acres, and a family undone - Coleman, Melissa

Summary: With urban farming and backyard chicken flocks becoming increasingly popular, Coleman has written this timely and honest portrait of her own childhood experience in Maine with her two homesteading parents during the turbulent 1970s. A luminous, evocative memoir that explores the hope and struggle behind one family's search for a self-sufficient life.

Booklist Reviews
With parents who were devoted acolytes of original back-to-the-landers Helen and Scott Nearing, Coleman grew up in the early 1970s as the quintessential "hippie baby," eating organic foods, running barefoot and free on 60 acres of Maine's back woods. As her father's enthusiasm for self-sufficiency took on a zealot's verve, Coleman's mother shouldered more of the arduous domestic duties, resolutely tending the family's spartan cabin sans running water or electricity. Known for devotion to the cause, the charismatic young couple soon attracted followers, and when a second child, Heidi, was born, it seemed as though, perhaps, they really could lead a charmed existence. It lasted two years, until the day Heidi drowned in the property's pond. The death of a child has the potential to destroy any family, and Coleman's was no exception. With her parents' divorce, Coleman experienced a surging sense of abandonment, one that she attempts to reconcile in this poignant memoir that chronicles the nascent homesteading counterculture in paralyzing detail. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Beautiful boy - David Sheff

Beautiful boy: a father's journey through his son's meth addiction - Sheff, David

Summary: "From as early as grade school, the world seemed to be on Nic Sheff's string. Bright and athletic, he excelled in any setting and appeared destined for greatness. Yet as childhood exuberance faded into teenage angst, the precocious boy found himself going down a much different path. Seduced by the illicit world of drugs and alcohol, he quickly found himself caught in the clutches of addiction. Beautiful Boy is Nic's story, but from the perspective of his father, David."

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Although the journey of the subtitle seems too dreadful to experience, even vicariously, Playboy contributing editor Sheff's intense memoir is hard to put down. Beyond the visceral torture of helplessly watching Nic, his adolescent son, descend deep into the rabbit hole of addiction, Sheff confesses to the ubiquitous parental habit of second-guessing every decision he has made throughout Nic's life, especially the ones he is forced to make as he tries to help the young man get and stay clean. His efforts have him turning to any and all resources, from AA to medical experts to rehab centers and finally to friends, for advice and assistance. The experience all but tears him and his family apart as Nic forges his parents' signatures on checks, steals his eight-year-old brother's savings, promises to reform, then repeatedly fails to stick with a rehabilitation program. In the end, it isn't the addiction as much as the repeated failures and relapses that are so debilitating for everyone involved. The book originated in a much-lauded New York Times Magazine article, which Sheff here expands in scope, sharing his and Nic's wisdom, missteps, and successes, and the lessons they learned. A must-read for, at the least, anyone in similar straits.

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Risk - Colin Harrison

Risk - Harrison, Colin

Summary: Attorney George Young uses his investigative skills to look into the violent death of Roger Corbett, son of the founder of Young's firm.

Booklist Reviews
In this latest thriller, Harrison (The Havana Room, 2004) puts the pedal to the metal and doesn't let up. The opening pages find middle-aged Manhattan insurance lawyer George Young summoned by the widow of his firm's formidable founder, Wendell Corbett. Mrs. Corbett wants to know the reason behind her son Roger's death before she goes under the knife for a surgery she's unlikely to survive. But Roger's demise seems to have just been an accident (he was hit by a careening garbage truck as he exited a local bar). Or was it? Young, who owes his career to Wendell Corbett, pledges to find answers. A series of clues leads him to a lithe and comely Czech hand model who may know more than she lets on. Russian mobsters, wily poker-playing informants, and a hot-and-cold New York Yankees ball club are all pivotal players here. Also compelling is Young's shrewd wife, Carol, who worries about her husband in the way only a longtime partner can. Harrison delivers a crime novel as gritty and electric as New York City itself. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Heart of the matter - Graham Greene

Heart of the matter - Greene, Graham

Summary: Set in West Africa, this is the story of Scobie, an assistant police commissioner, and his personal and professional corruption.

Kirkus Reviews:
/* Starred Review */ Reported originally in the February 15th bulletin, this was postponed to the above date as a mid-summer selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. The original report ran as follows: "Not to be associated with Graham Greene's earlier works (Brighton Rock, The Confidential Agent, The Ministry of Fear, etc.) this is a novel of considerable seriousness and stature in which the sensational brilliance of his previous writing has been subdued by sincerity, by compassion, and by a strong sense of faith. But with no sacrifice of narrative momentum, this pursues the theme of good and evil in its ultimate implications, portrays the corruption of a man by a worldly- rather than a final-judgment. This is the story of Scobie, whose austere integrity has remained above question during his fifteen years' service as Assistant Police Commissioner in a West African coastal town, has brought him few friends and many enemies. Bound by a sense of responsibility to his work, to his wife, Louise, for whom he feels only pity and the pathos of her unattractiveness, Scobie becomes the victim of that pity when to give Louise a fresh start- he borrows the money for her passage from a Syrian, Yussuf. Falling in love again, this time with a childlike widow of nineteen, Scobie again finds that passion dies away, that only pity is left, and his indiscretion exposed to the malevolent Yussuf- he becomes an object of blackmail. In a descrescendo to dishonor which leads from doubt to deceit, indirectly to murder, Scobie commits the unforgivable sin in the tenets of his Catholicism, suicides, but in so doing finds the renunciation of his life... A book which offers a variety of virtues- in its external drama, in its satiric subtlety as it is directed against the insular, colonial scene, and in its relentless portrayal of a man destroyed by the strength of his conscience rather than the weakness of the flesh. For an adult, appreciative audience. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1948)

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Shakespeare in performance - Keith Parsons & Pamela Mason (Eds.)

Shakespeare in performance - Parsons, Keith & Mason, Pamela (Eds.)

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Stories I only tell my friends - Rob Lowe

Stories I only tell my friends: an autobiography - Lowe, Rob

Summary: The 1980s Brat Pack founder presents an account of his life in show business and politics, tracing his counter-culture youth in Malibu, his work on such productions as "The Outsiders" and "The West Wing" and his pursuits of family and sobriety.

Booklist Reviews
Lowe, in case you haven't been living on planet Earth for some time, is a significant TV and movie actor. Again, unless you've been out of the loop lately, his career was nearly scuttled when a sex tape featuring him with two young women surfaced. But the point of bringing that sad and not-really-anyone's-business incident up is to say that Lowe survived to thrive again, and his charming, honest, even affectionate memoir is the story of strong guts behind a strikingly handsome face. Lowe recalls his early life in Ohio, his move with his mother and brother (Chad, that is, also an actor) to California, and his early advent into movies and television. A stable family life was never his to enjoy until he began his own. He certainly does not downplay the wild parts of his life, but neither does he act entitled to the high points of his career. Readers will appreciate learning of his hard work and of his learning from his past mistakes. A book to recommend widely. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: First serial rights sold to Vanity Fair (May issue), author appearances, and national media and review attention will generate buzz. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Akhenaten dweller in truth - Najib Mahfuz

Akhenaten dweller in truth - Mahfuz, Najib

After the death of Akhenaten, a young man searches for the truth about the "heretic pharaoh," interviewing Akhenaten's closest friends, most dangerous enemies, and even his enigmatic wife, Nefertiti, about the remarkable leader of ancient Egypt, in a fictional portrait of the eighteenthdynasty pharaoh by the Nobel Prizewinning author of Palace of Desire. Original. 20,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
In a novel set during the eleventh century B.C., Mahfouz details the story of a young boy, Meriamum, who seeks to uncover the "truth" about the titular character, the recently deceased pharaoh. Akhenaten, Egypt's first monotheistic ruler, endured a controversial reign, during which he struggled to impart his divine vision to an unwilling nation. Armed with a letter of introduction, Meriamum is granted interviews with those closest to the pharaoh: a diverse array of characters that include the high priest, childhood friends, soldiers, a harem member, and finally Nefertiti, Akhenaten's wife. As Meriamum pieces together the disparate accounts, both he and the reader are given a fascinating glimpse of Akhenaten, a man compelled to follow his faith no matter how disastrous the consequences. Mahfouz populates his engrossing novel with characters that are believably human and flawed; their conflicts with religion and politics have a timeless quality to which readers will respond. Although some might complain that the content of the interviews often becomes repetitive, readers interested in ancient Egypt will find this book immensely appealing. ((Reviewed March 15, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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The legend of Colter Bryant - Alexandra Fuller

The legend of Colter Bryant - Fuller, Alexandra

Summary: "Colton knew there were a hundred ways to die in Wyoming. That's why he figured there was only one way to live--with all his heart. When Alexandra Fuller set out to write about the oil rigs on Wyoming's high plains, she was expecting the fierce weather and the roughnecks, the big skies and the industry men, but she wasn't expecting to encounter a real-life cowboy. Then Colton H. Bryant happened into her story, a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart and blue eyes that'll look right through you. The story of his life took over Fuller's writing and a kind of magic ensued, the result of which became this book."--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Fuller's re-creation of the brief life of Colton H. Bryant is the story of a third-generation oil-patch worker in Wyoming. Spotlessly capturing the distinctive scenes from his life, Fuller takes readers into the Bryant family and the small-town community and oil rigs they inhabited. To know Colton, who "has a way of tearing out of the chute, firing with all hooves at once," one must experience him, and Fuller, with pinpoint detailing and a deadeye aim on Wyoming dialect, teases out a portrait of a young man that is staggering in its spareness, and heartbreaking in its tenderness. But, "like all westerns, this story is a tragedy before it even starts because there was never a way for anyone to win against all the odds out here." The stacked deck belongs to the oil companies, of course, and the lesson learned from Colton's life and death is that human life is small change and protecting it isn't in the best interest of profit. Although it's little consolation, Fuller's deeply moving celebration of Colton's life is bursting with humor, love, and tragedy, like all that is best in life, and without ever having met him, you won't soon forget Colton H. Bryant. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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