Jul 1, 2012

Amped - Daniel Wilson

Amped - Wilson, Daniel

Summary: In a near-future world where technologically enhanced humans are governed by a strict set of conduct laws, twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray joins the ranks of a persecuted underclass that is planning to change, or destroy, the world.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Owen Gray is an ordinary 29-year-old high school teacher implanted with a medical chip that controls his epilepsy. When the Supreme Court rules that "Amps," people whose chips give them enhanced abilities, are not a protected class shielded from discrimination, Owen's father, who's also his neurosurgeon, reveals that Owen's chip is "something extra," and Owen is now in danger from "pure pride" activists. He takes off for an Oklahoma trailer park called Eden where chip designer Jim Howard lives alongside other implantees whose only protection now is each other. Most just want to live normal lives, but ex-soldier Lyle Crosby intends to exploit their enhancements to start a war, and Owen is thrust into the fight. Wilson keeps the action and fear-based prejudice ever-present without sacrificing depth. The story's heart is the moral quandary Owen faces once he knows his implant only responds to his deepest thoughts, keeping the reader wondering how far he will go and how much he is willing to sacrifice. Agent: Laurie Fox, Linda Chester Literary Agency. (June)

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My happy days in Hollywood - Gary Marshall

My happy days in Hollywood a memoir - Marshall, Gary

Summary: A lighthearted account by the producer and director of such productions as "Laverne & Shirley" and "Pretty Woman" traces his Bronx childhood, role in shaping A-list celebrity careers, and personal philosophies about life and entertainment.

Booklist Reviews
Marshall has worn many hats in Hollywood over the course of his five decades in the business: writer, producer, director, actor. Born in the Bronx, he made his way to Hollywood in 1961 and got his start penning sitcoms for such television luminaries as Lucille Ball and Danny Thomas. The creation of the hit show Happy Days put Marshall on the map, and led to several spin-offs, including Laverne & Shirley, which starred his sister Penny. Marshall turned to the big screen next, and while his first few entries weren't commercially successful, subsequent outings like Nothing in Common, Beaches, and Pretty Woman made him a household name. Contrary to many working in the business, Marshall went out of his way to make each of his sets a happy place, playing pranks on various stars and even ensuring that Julia Roberts ate regular meals after she collapsed during the filming of Pretty Woman. Readers are bound to be as charmed by Marshall himself as they are by the behind-the-scenes anecdotes he shares about his hit television shows and movies. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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They eat puppies, don't they? - Christopher Buckley

They eat puppies, don't they? - Buckley, Christopher

Summary: Starting a rumor about an assassination plot targeting the Dalai Lama as part of an effort to gain support for a secret weapons system, Bird McIntyre and Angel Templeton provoke Washington crises that bring the United States and China to the brink of war.

Booklist Reviews
In his latest novel of bull's-eye political satire, Buckley (Supreme Courtship, 2008) skewers our adversarial yet symbiotic relationship with China, along with the corruption endemic to lobbying, weapons manufacturing, and media spin. Walter "Bird" McIntyre, lobbyist for an aerospace behemoth, is instructed to "whip up . . . anti-Chinese fervor" to help secure government funding for a new secret weapon. Hapless and endearing, Bird divides his time between the condo he calls the Military-Industrial Duplex and the country estate he dubbed Upkeep, home to his equestrian wife, Alzheimer's-afflicted mother, and freeloading brother Bewks, a Civil War reenactor, while writing egregiously clich├ęd thrillers. Bring on sexy-scary hawk and neocon Angel Templeton, and Bird is in more trouble than he concocts for his tough-guy heroes. Vicious confrontations break out on Chris Matthews' Hardball, the Dalai Lama is in peril, and the eminently reasonable president of China can talk with his trusted aide only in the bathroom with the water running full blast to foil their enemies' listening devices. Buckley balances bayonet humor and tenderness in this canny and diverting send-up. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Along the way - Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez

Along the way: the journey of a father and a son - Sheen, Martin

Summary A dual memoir of the film legend and his actor/director son shares fifty years of family history, covering their Northern Spanish heritage, careers, and individual spiritual lives. - (Baker & Taylor)

Kirkus Reviews
The patriarch and scion of one of America's best-known acting families take turns sharing the stories of their lives, careers and relationship. The 2010 film The Way, written and directed by Estevez and starring Sheen, tells the story of a man who completes the journey along the Camino de Santiago pilgrim's path begun by his son, who died en route. The movie provides the entry point for the authors--assisted by Edelman (The Possibility of Everything, 2009, etc.)--to relate their life stories, focusing on acting, faith, family and the filming of The Way. Sheen, born Ramon Estevez, the son of a Spanish immigrant father and Irish immigrant mother, grew up in a large Catholic family in Dayton, Ohio. Emilio Estevez was raised in Malibu, Calif., and on film and TV sets around the world as his father struggled to make a career as an actor and keep his family together. On the whole, the alternating voices work well, highlighting the similarities and differences in the father and son's paths to professional and personal success and noting the failures and obstacles on the way. Estevez's description of his experiences as a 14-year-old on the Philippines set of Apocalypse Now is particularly noteworthy, adding an extra dimension to the well-documented insanity of that film's creation. The drawback to a double memoir becomes evident after a while, however, as the stories of auditions and film sets, fascinating though they may be, lessen the impact of what is intended to be the main focus: the life lessons each man draws from their father-son relationship. Shedding light on the creation of a unique family and an American acting dynasty, this book is certain to become a Father's Day gift staple for West Wing and Repo Man fans alike. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The age of miracles - Karen Thompson Walker

The age of miracles - Walker, Karen Thompson

Summary: Imagines the coming-of-age story of young Julia, whose world is thrown into upheaval when it is discovered that the Earth's rotation has suddenly begun to slow, posing a catastrophic threat to all life.

Kirkus Reviews
In Walker's stunning debut, a young California girl coming of age in a dystopian near future confronts the inevitability of change on the most personal level as life on earth withers. Sixth-grader Julia, whose mother is a slightly neurotic former actress and whose father is an obstetrician, is living an unremarkable American middle-class childhood. She rides the school bus and takes piano lessons; she has a mild crush on a boy named Seth whose mother has cancer; she enjoys sleepovers with her best friend Hanna, who happens to be a Mormon. Then one October morning there's a news report that scientists have discovered a slowing of the earth's rotation, adding minutes to each day and night. After initial panic, the human tendency to adapt sets in even as the extra minutes increase into hours. Most citizens go along when the government stays on a 24-hour clock, although an underground movement of those living by "real time" sprouts up. Gravity is affected; birds begin to die, and astronauts are stranded on their space station. By November, the "real time" of days has grown to 40 hours, and the actual periods of light and dark only get longer from that point. The world faces crises in communication, health, transportation and food supply. The changes in the planet are profound, but the daily changes in Julia's life, which she might be facing even in a normal day, are equally profound. Hanna's family moves to Utah, leaving Julia without a best friend to help defend against the bullies at the bus stop. She goes through the trials and joys of first love. She begins to see cracks in her parents' marriage and must navigate the currents of loyalty and moral uncertainty. She faces sickness and death of loved ones. But she also witnesses constancy and perseverance. Julia's life is shaped by what happens in the larger world, but it is the only life she knows, and Walker captures each moment, intimate and universal, with magical precision. Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Love, fiercely - Jean Zimmerman

Love, fiercely: a gilded age romance - Zimmerman, Jean

Summary: Documents the Gilded Age love story of an heiress who fought for women's rights and an architect, tracing their upbringings, their pursuits, and their advocacy efforts on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised.

Library Journal Reviews
Demonstrating the same flare as in her previous biography, Zimmerman (The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty) pays respect to the lives and times of Edith Minturn Stokes and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes. Edith and Newton, as he was called, who married in 1895, were born in New York to immense privilege and became patrons of the arts and advocates for immigrant rights. The two knew each other as children and eventually fell in love. Newton, a respected architect in his own right, pulled together a massive multivolume documentary history, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, and Edith worked for many charitable organizations. Zimmerman chronicles their personal lives and love, from the heights of financial success to the depths of deteriorating health and wealth, while also encapsulating the era in which they lived. VERDICT With an impressive amount of research behind every page, Zimmerman manages to capture the sweeping drama of the turn of the century as well as the compelling story of a couple who knew how to love, fiercely. Her superb pacing and gripping narrative will appeal to all who enjoy history, biography, and real-life romance. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/11.]—Crystal Goldman, San Jose State Univ. Lib., CA

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Unholy night - Seth Grahame-Smith

Unholy night - Grahame-Smith, Seth

Summary: Depicts the lives of the Three Kings of the Nativity, casting them as a set of infamous thieves who accidentally happen upon Joseph, Mary, and the newborn king and help them escape to Egypt.

Booklist Reviews
Blasphemous or brilliant? That was the buzz surrounding Grahame-Smith following his auspicious arrival on the New York Times best-seller list in 2009 with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a clever literary mash-up that launched a new "historical revisionism" genre of popular fiction. Blockbuster authors don't grow on trees, so it wasn't a huge shock when Grahame-Smith made headlines last December after Warner Bros. paid him $2 million for the film rights to Unholy Night before its publication. The twisted plot revolves around the biblical story of the Three Wise Men, depicted here as thieving scoundrels who—through a series of outrageous set pieces—end up aiding Joseph, Mary, and the little baby Jesus as they escape from the evil King Herod. There's no way of knowing if Grahame-Smith wrote this would-be epic with the intent of having it become a big-budget Hollywood movie, but it's not hard to visualize someone like Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of the murderous yet charming Balthazar. It's a rollicking, swords-and-sandals yarn that could easily have been subtitled "in 3-D." Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Home - Toni Morrison

Home - Morrison, Toni

Summary: "The story of a Korean war veteran on a quest to save his younger sister"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The Korean conflict is over, and soldier Frank Money has returned to the States with a disturbed psyche that sends him beyond anger into actually acting out his rage. From the mental ward in which he has been incarcerated for an incident he can't even remember, he determines that he must escape. He needs to get to Atlanta to attend to his gravely ill sister and take her back to their Georgia hometown of Lotus, which, although Frank realizes a return there is necessary for his sister's sake, remains a detestable place in his mind. Morrison's taut, lacerating novel observes, through the struggles of Frank to move heaven and earth to reach and save his little sister, how a damaged man can gather the fortitude to clear his mind of war's horror and face his own part in that horror, leave the long-term anger he feels toward his hometown aside, and take responsibility for his own life as well as hers. With the economical presentation of a short story, the rhythms and cadence of a poem, and the total embrace and resonance of a novel, Morrison, one of our national literary treasures, continues to marshal her considerable talents to draw a deeply moving narrative and draw in a wide range of appreciative readers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A quarter-million print run is the surest indication that the publisher is confident that a new Morrison novel is bound to be a big hit. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Winter's bone - Daniel Woodrell

Winter's bone - Woodrell, Daniel

Summary: Reaching her sixteenth year in the harsh Ozarks while caring for her poverty-stricken family, Ree Dolly learns that they will lose their house unless her bail-skipping father can be found and made to appear at an upcoming court date. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ In Give Us a Kiss (1996), Woodrell introduced the Redmonds, marijuana farmers from the Ozarks ("It's a strange, powerful bloodline poetry, I guess, but there's something so potent to us Redmonds about bustin' laws together, as a family"). Now he turns his attention to the Redmonds' archenemies, the Dollys, another family of dirt farmers who thrive on bustin' laws together (crank cocaine being their crop of choice). But this time the Dollys aren't feuding with the Redmonds as much as battling each other. Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly, who dreams of escaping her family by joining the army ("where you got to travel with a gun and they make everybody help keep things clean") is caught in the crossfire when her daddy jumps bail, leaving her stuck with two younger brothers and the prospect of forfeiting their house if the old man doesn't show up for his court date. To find Daddy, dead or alive, and save the house, Ree must ask questions of her notoriously tight-lipped relatives ("talkin' causes witnesses"). When she keeps pushing for answers, the relatives push back. Like his characters, and especially his teen characters, Woodrell's prose mixes tough and tender so thoroughly yet so delicately that we never taste even a hint of false bravado, on the one hand, or sentimentality, on the other. And Ree is one of those heroines whose courage and vulnerability are both irresistible and completely believable--think of not just Mattie Ross in True Grit but also Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or even Eliza Naumann in Bee Season. One runs out of superlatives to describe Woodrell's fiction. We called his last novel, The Death of Sweet Mister (2001), "word perfect." If that's true--and it is--this one is word perfecter. ((Reviewed May 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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