Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Workman Publishing: Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades--Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too by Steven Raichlen

From My Shelf

Knopf Publishing Group: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Counterpoint: Grace by Natashia Deón

Serendipity

Book browsing is inherently serendipitous, even if you have a certain type of book in mind. An arresting cover or catchy blurb can lead into a nice discovery. Or, as happens so often, a few e-mail or water-cooler exchanges in the course of the workday provide the happy accident.

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from our managing editor, Robin Lenz, suggesting Ben Aaronovitch for a feature, saying, "Really funny guy, and I'm a big fan of his SF/mysteries." I'm a sucker for "funny" and "mysteries," so I asked the author if he would write an Inklings piece for us, which he did, and which I thoroughly enjoyed. That led to picking up his first book, Midnight Riot, which is, well, a riot. Probationary Constable Peter Grant wants to be a London detective but is being shunted into paper-shuffling limbo when he gets an odd break: he sees a ghost. Even better, he can speak with the ghost. Thus begins Grant's fortuitous apprenticeship with Inspector Nightingale, the Master.

It's a good story, and it's hilarious--Aaronovitch has a dry, deadpan wit. Here's a typical character description: "He was from Yorkshire or somewhere like that, and like many Northerners with issues, he'd moved to London as a cheap alternative to psychotherapy." As Grant battles evil, he comes to know the rivers and streams of London--they are gods and goddesses, and London is a city of magic, some good, some evil, some at the tipping point; he practices--sometimes badly-- basic magic and holds forth on all manner of life, like his mother, an African immigrant who takes no prisoners. Zany personalities keep pace with Peter's progress, like Dr. Abdul Haqq Walid, "world-renowned gastroenterologist, cryptopathologist and practicing Scot."

The best thing about the book? There are two more in the series (Moon over Soho and Whispers Underground) that I haven't read yet. --Marilyn Dahl, book review editor, Shelf Awareness


Reedimagine: Zagzig Parenting: (Mis)Adventures of a Career-Driven Mom and a Stay-At-Home Dad by Kori Reed with Mike Becker


Book Candy

Authors and Bicycles; Book Cakes; Bookcases and Shelves

Tolstoy the biker and more. Flavorwire offered an album of "photos of famous authors and their bicycles."

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Tasty pictures, indeed: Mental Floss served up "11 cakes inspired by comic books." And a "magnificent Zelda Fitzgerald cake" was featured by Boing Boing, which noted that "Zelda is half Peach Cake soaked in bourbon, the other half is vanilla cake with a salted caramel buttercream."

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Design Paragon featured "35 examples of avant-garde bookcase and bookshelf designs."

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A direct evolutionary line from fallen tree to bookcases has been illustrated, courtesy of  Improbables Librairies, Improbables Bibliothèques's Facebook page.


Head of Zeus: Less Than a Treason (Kate Shugak Mysteries #21) by Dana Stabenow


The Writer's Life

Bernie & Chet & Spencer Quinn

We are big fans of Spencer Quinn's five Chet and Bernie mysteries; see our review below of the latest, A Fistful of Collars (Atria). We got pretty excited when we came up with the idea to interview Chet, until we realized that while Chet thinks, he doesn't speak. So, here, via Spencer Quinn [in photo, with Amy], is an interview with Bernie.

For those who don't know, you're the proprietor of the Little Detective Agency. In retrospect, are you happy with that corporate name choice?

Little is my surname. I run a detective agency.

Right. But the agency predates Chet's involvement. Chet, I should explain, is your canine companion, and readers of your joint adventures--A Fistful of Collars is the latest--might see him as a major contributor to your success, such as it is.

Such as it is?

Uh, considerable success is what I meant to say. No need to get up. How tall are you, if you don't mind my asking?

Just under six two.

And your weight?

Haven't weighed myself in years--205, 210, something like that.

You seem to be in good shape.

Nothing like Chet.

Yes, getting back to Chet. In light of Chet's performance in The Dog Who Knew Too Much, to take a recent example, have you ever considered changing the corporate name to the Chet and Bernie Agency?

No.

Mind if I ask why?

Yes.

Um, right, sure, perfectly understandable. But this is, after all, a promotional sort of interview.

For who?

Well, for you and for us, I guess.

(sighs) Chet doesn't care about things like having his name on the business card.

How do you know?

How do I know? Because I know Chet.

I understand why you might think you know him. But how do you know you know?

You lost me.

He is a dog, after all.

And I'm human. Where are we going with this?

Uh, nowhere special. I was only--

And by the way, Ms. Shelf, Chet knows me, too.

Well, you see, that raises pretty much the same--

And that's that.

(shuffling notes, discarding most of them) Can I ask when you first began to suspect the existence of this mutual understanding?

Isn't all that in A Cat Was Involved, the e-story about the day we first met?

You mentioned that Chet doesn't care about having his name on the business card. Can you tell us some things he does care about? Treats, for example? Fetch? Chasing javelinas in the canyon out behind your place in the Valley? Grabbing perps by the pant leg?

(goes quiet, assumes faraway look) He likes all that, of course. But they're part of something else, something much bigger--his love of life. Chet loves life with a passion. I've learned a lot from him in that regard and hope to learn lots more.

Thanks, Bernie. That's rather, um, touch--

(on his way out) Don't mention it.


ReedPop: BookCon Tickets & Information


Inklings

Tad Crawford: On Murakami's Dreams

Tad Crawford, Allworth Press founder and publisher, is an author, attorney and artists' rights advocate. His debut novel is A Floating Life (Arcade Publishing). He has also written The Secret Life of Money and a dozen other nonfiction books, chiefly on the business lives of artists and writers.

Readers of my newly released novel, A Floating Life, often ask about the source of my inspiration for the images, characters and events that are "dreamlike." This is the same question that I've wanted to ask Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors, for a long time.

Murakami is especially interesting because his dreams have no afterlife in his consciousness. Sleep is a void. It's striking that a novelist so able to command the logic and imagery of dreams does not remember his own dreams.

A clue to this conundrum comes from his work process. After rising at 4 a.m. he writes for five or six hours, then runs or swims, reads and listens to music, and goes to bed promptly at 9 p.m. He says, "I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it's a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind."

This mesmerizing allows Murakami to explore his own fascinating depths. Imagining himself to have a lost twin who was kidnapped and lives in a different reality, Murakami identifies with the twin and frees himself from the constraints of this reality. He can let his imagination be active and explore images, concepts, and characters that are not what we expect. As he says, "Every time I write a book I put my feet in different shoes.... This way I can escape. It's a fantasy. If you can't have a fantasy, what's the point of writing a book?"

I believe these mesmerizing fantasies offer a tonic to society by presenting a way into the life of the soul that transcends the limits imposed by ordinary reality. This may help explain one facet of Murakami's immense popularity and appeal. --Tad Crawford


DK Publishing: Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia by Adam Bray, Cole Horton, and Tricia Barr


Literary Lists

Underrated Novels; French Cooking Titles; Danza's Movies

Flavorwire highlighted "10 underrated books everyone should read" and "10 novels that deserve a prequel."

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In the fall of 1960, Julia Child sent a letter to her editor at Knopf that included a list of suggested titles for her forthcoming debut cookbook, which would ultimately, and famously, become the final name on the list: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. See the full menu of possibilities here.

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In honor of the Roald Dahl's birthday last week, former British children's laureate Michael Rosen shared his picks for "top 10 Dahl characters" in the Telegraph.

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Actor Tony Danza, the author of I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had who admits he was a "discipline problem" at Long Island's Malverne High School, chose his "top 5 movies to school you" for Word&Film.


Henry Holt & Company: The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger #2) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman


Book Review

Fiction

Telegraph Avenue

by Michael Chabon


Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue is a love letter to Oakland, Calif., the scrappy, distinctive community adjacent to his Berkeley home. The central setting is Brokeland Records, a "church of vinyl" on the street that gives the novel its name. Co-owners Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, an often fractious pairing of black and white, find their business threatened by the impending construction of a "Dogpile Thang," an entertainment complex owned by Gibson Goode, a Magic Johnson-style ex-athlete and entrepreneur. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are partners in a midwifery business, while Nate and Aviva's son, Julius, develops an intense attraction to 14-year-old Titus, the son Archy learns he has fathered when the boy returns to California after his mother dies.

Chabon is most intrigued by the daily struggles of these characters involving love, work and family, and he knits their lives together in a dense web of incident and reflection. There's an undercurrent of racial tension manifest in everything from Gwen's confrontation with a white physician after a near-disastrous home birth to the relationship between Titus and Julius.

Chabon's high-wire prose style is one of the novel's consistent pleasures, displayed most vividly in a single sentence that spans 12 pages, offering a literal bird's-eye view of the principal characters as they experience the "heartaches and sorrows of Telegraph Avenue." Whether it's classic jazz and blues, the world of blaxploitation films of the 1970s or the intimate details of childbirth, Chabon demonstrates command of an impressive array of subjects that gives the novel the feel of real life. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Discover: Michael Chabon's seventh novel illuminates the lives of a diverse group of colorful characters brought together around a used record shop in Oakland, Calif.

Harper, $27.99, hardcover, 9780061493348

Delacorte Press: The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress


Dora: A Headcase

by Lidia Yuknavitch


Dora: A Headcase, Lidia Yuknavitch's first novel (after the memoir The Chronology of Water), is an inside-out retelling of Sigmund Freud's classic case study of "Dora," a Viennese teenager he diagnosed with hysteria. Yuknavitch transposes the patient to modern-day Seattle and outfits her with a shaved head, plaid miniskirt and a crew of badass, misfit friends. "You know what? Seventeen is no place to be," declares Ida, our modern-day Dora. She acts out. She gets high. Like the first Dora, intense emotions make her faint or lose her voice.

So Ida's parents send her to Seattle's top psychotherapist: Dr. Freud, whom Ida calls Sig. She has no patience for his brand of analysis: "Hello, won't you come in and let me explore your genitals by pretending to talk about your family origins," she scoffs. "What a load of crap." Ida's first line of defense against Sig's probing is her wit, but she's also got a millennial's flair for technology--and an audio recorder stashed in her repurposed Dora the Explorer purse.

Ida and her friends (including Obsidian, a gorgeous Native American girl whom Ida is in love with) are hyper-modern, overstimulated and misunderstood. "We live through sound and light--through our technologies," she explains. "With our parents' zombie life dope arsenal at our fingertips."

We know the original Dora (whose real name was Ida) only through Freud's analysis of her feelings and dreams. In Dora: A Headcase, Yuknavitch grants a perspective and a voice to the girl who lost both. --Hannah Calkins, blogger at Unpunished Vice

Discover: Lidia Yuknavitch transposes Freud's classic case study to modern-day Seattle, giving us Dora 2.0: a funny, foul-mouthed, queer bad girl who has more to teach us than Freud ever dreamed.

Hawthorne Books, $16.95, paperback, 9780983477570

Chronicle Books: Happiness Is... 200 Things I Love about Mom/Dad by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar


Mystery & Thriller

A Wanted Man

by Lee Child


A Wanted Man is Lee Child's 17th novel starring retired military police officer Jack Reacher, who roams the country with a toothbrush in his pocket, defeating bullies, defending the weak, solving problems and charming women. Following on the action of Worth Dying For, Reacher is trying to hitch his way cross-country to find a woman whose voice attracts him from afar. But the driver and passengers in the car that picks him up are not what they seem. Soon, Reacher is pulled into a rural Nebraska murder investigation that somehow draws the interest of the FBI, the CIA and the State Department.

Beautiful and talented women, paramilitary threats, an unidentified murder victim, kidnappings, carjackings and a child at risk allow Child's hero to shine: Reacher knows to use his brains and investigative skills as well as his brawn and weapons training to overcome the enemy. His skill at arithmetic--what Reacher called in an earlier novel a "junior idiot savant" gift for numbers--is particularly useful here.

A Wanted Man delivers expertly paced building of tension, thrilling, full-throttle action and kick-butt fight scenes, all wrapped in a tautly structured mystery with military flavor and international implications. Fans love Reacher because he's smart, physically unbeatable and chivalrous, and here they'll find everything they've come to expect. Newcomers will have no problem joining mid-series; as usual, the hardest part is waiting for the next installment. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at Pages of Julia

Discover: Jack Reacher's extraordinary expertise intersects full-speed with the FBI and an unknown threat in rural Nebraska.

Delacorte, $28, hardcover, 9780385344333

A Fistful of Collars

by Spencer Quinn


Readers familiar with the private investigating team of Chet and Bernie will recognize the silhouette on the cover of Spencer Quinn's A Fistful of Collars as the collar-sporting Chet himself, the lovable, wily, brave, albeit unreliable, canine narrator of Quinn's previous four mysteries. Since 2009, when Quinn (aka thriller writer Peter Abrahams) introduced detective Bernie Little and his partner in Dog on It, the duo has cracked every case--but not, as Chet reminds us, without their share of bad breaks and close calls.

Chet isn't a talking dog, but a thinking narrator, so the reader sees the big picture even if Bernie doesn't. Chet is a devoted partner, and his instincts are sharp: he knows when to chomp on a perp, sniffs trouble from a mile away and has a knack for telling the good guys from the bad. This time, the trouble-prone movie star they're assigned to keep straight while he's filming in town leads them down shady alleys, into the desert and to more than one unsolved murder.

Chet's ingenuous black-and-white view of Bernie's goodness and criminals' evil ("He'll be smashing rocks in an orange jumpsuit at Northern State!") and his good humor will win reader loyalty long before he tracks down his first clue in Quinn's delightful buddy tale. While it cites characters and plots from earlier books, A Fistful of Collars will have no problem engaging and entertaining readers just discovering this series. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller

Discover: Quinn's bestselling team are back in action, as a 100-pound canine private investigator and his partner stumble onto more murders.

Atria, $25, hardcover, 9781451665161

Science Fiction & Fantasy

At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories

by Kij Johnson


Kij Johnson won the 2009 Nebula award for "Spar," an unrelenting tale about an astronaut trapped in an escape pod with an alien life form that blindly assaults her over and over. The following year, she won the prize again for "Ponies," which begins with the surface sweetness of little girls playing with cartoon-like horses before taking a sharp turn.

And then, the year after that, she received another Nebula for her novella "The Man Who Bridged the Mist." This story takes full advantage of its greater length, exploring the psyche of Kit, an architect sent to the remote end of an empire to build a bridge that will span a turbulent river of mist and monsters. Kit falls in love with Rasali, the woman who runs the main ferry connecting the towns of Nearside and Farside, even as he realizes that his bridge will make her job obsolete. The depth of Johnson's portrayal of their relationship is matched by her attention to the details of life in her fantasy kingdom.

Like these three, the other stories collected in At the Mouth of the River of Bees exhibit a captivating blend of psychological realism and hallucinatory vision, with animals often playing a central role.

Johnson shifts easily from domestic dramas ("The Bitey Cat") to conflicts on a vast alien landscape ("The Horse Raiders"), hitting many points in between. When she's at her best, the small emotional moments are as likely to linger in your memory as the fantastic imagery. --Ron Hogan, founder of Beatrice.com

Discover: Fans of Karen Russell and Erin Morgenstern will appreciate Nebula winner Kij Johnson's mysterious and compelling stories.

Small Beer Press, $16, paperback, 9781931520805

Full Blooded

by Amanda Carlson


Amanda Carlson sets the stakes high in her debut urban fantasy, Full Blooded: Jessica McClain isn't just the daughter of a werewolf pack leader; she's also the first woman to show lycanthropic tendencies since pretty much forever. Some of her father's enemies are already convinced Jessica is the "daughter of Cain" allegedly foretold to bring about the death of their race. Although her father tries to keep the news about her new powers from spreading, the rumors about her swiftly regain momentum. There are also serious non-supernatural concerns--after her first transformation, the local police want to know why her apartment looks like a wild animal tore it apart....

There's a lot going on here, and Carlson tries to cram as much of it as she can into this first installment of a new series, filling in the background to the supernatural setting as she goes along. As a result, things get very busy very fast--not only does Jessica have to worry about the rifts in her family's wolf pack, she also faces heat from a human police officer who's long been convinced there's something wrong about her. Romance arrives from a totally unexpected direction, but we barely have time to absorb this new development before the witches and the vampires get involved, kicking everything up another notch. Unfortunately, Carlson leaves the majority of these loose ends dangling with the novel's abrupt ending. It's a suspenseful setup for the sequel, but some may find the lack of even a tiny bit of closure frustrating. --Ron Hogan, founder of Beatrice.com

Discover: The groundwork for an elaborate urban fantasy, set in Minnesota's Twin Cities, told from the perspective of a young woman coping with the onset of her werewolf nature.

Orbit, $12.99, paperback, 9780316205207

Food & Wine

My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes)

by Luisa Weiss


Born in West Berlin to an Italian mother and an American father, Luisa Weiss grew up shuttling between Berlin and Boston after her parents split up. Although she loved both countries (and parents) equally, she struggled with the heartaches inherent in an international lifestyle, turning to the kitchen to recreate the flavors of the places and people she missed.

Although she had built a successful publishing career and created a popular food blog  (The Wednesday Chef) while living in New York, Weiss missed the tastes, sights and sounds of Berlin. While visiting her mother after a painful breakup, she reconnected with a former boyfriend and soon found herself--to her utter surprise--packing to move across the Atlantic, back to the city and the man she still loved.

Weiss vividly evokes the flavors of German, Italian and American cuisine, from her father’s comfort dish of baked beans served with broccoli to the towering, complicated Hannchen Jansen (gooseberry cream cake). The characters around each table come to life as vibrantly as the food, and Weiss adds helpful hints to the recipes that crown each chapter.

From encounters with pigeons in Paris to New Year's fireworks in Berlin, from cooking with roommates in New York to sharing a kitchen with her German husband, Weiss takes readers on a culinary tour of her life. While her recipes are inspiring, the true magic of her meals (as she admits) comes from gathering with loved ones, no matter what country's dishes are on the menu. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: A mouthwatering tribute to Berlin and a love letter to food, romance and following your heart.

Viking, $26.95, hardcover, 9780670025381

History

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

by Antonio Mendez, Matt Baglio


On November 4, 1979, six American diplomats managed to escape as militants stormed the U.S. embassy, taking the rest of the staff hostage for 444 days. Unbeknownst to most of the world, the six escapees spent more than two months as "house guests" of the Canadian ambassador, until the CIA was able to stage a risky rescue.

Antonio Mendez, one of the CIA's top "exfiltration" agents, came up with a bold plan, deciding that such an unprecedented rescue needed a daring cover. So with the help of real Hollywood producers, he created a fake science fiction movie called Argo, a hoax was so detailed it included a bogus ad in Variety. He and his team then created false documents for the six diplomats, making them appear to be a Canadian film crew scouting locations in Iran.

Next came the dangerous part: with the help of the Canadian government, Mendez and another CIA officer went into Iran, hoping to bring the rest of their "film crew" back with them.

Mendez (The Master of Disguise) puts the rescue mission in the context of the broader Iranian crisis, sharing details of the takeover and the American response--including CIA actions. The detail put into creating the Argo cover story is mindboggling. Argo is a mesmerizing book; a fast-paced, irresistible read that's equal parts politics, history and espionage. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: The astounding true story of the 1979 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran.

Viking, $26.95, hardcover, 9780670026227

Religion

Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning

by Jonathan Sacks


In The Great Partnership, Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the U.K.'s main Orthodox movement, offers an examination of the most profound issues of faith and science that is both intellectually rigorous and generous in spirit.

With an impressive range of scholarship that extends far beyond the Jewish tradition, Sacks marshals an array of arguments for the proposition that "we need both religion and science." He strives to convince us religion doesn't require "the abdication of the intellect, a silencing of critical faculties."

Early in his argument, Sacks sets up a dichotomy between the analytical modes of science and religion, tracing the split to the clash between the left-brained world of the Greek philosophers and the right-brained world of the Hebrew Bible. "Science takes things apart to see how they work," he writes. "Religion puts things together to see what they mean."

In prose that's both stately and accessible, Sacks devotes extensive discussion to topics like evolution, the problem of evil and the excesses of religion. He explicitly refrains from offering elaborate philosophical proofs for the existence of God, calling such an effort "misconceived." It's less important for Sacks to prove that a divine being exists than to live as if one does; thus, he mostly avoids direct confrontations with the more polemical statements of Dawkins and company. He does, however, single out for criticism Sam Harris's denunciation of "religious moderates" and call for a hostile encounter between fundamentalists and atheists--the unappealing extremes between which Sacks steers with considerable dexterity. --Harvey Freedenberg

Discover: A British rabbi sets out to reconcile the worldviews of science and religion in this intellectually stimulating work.

Schocken, $28.95, hardcover, 9780805243017

Children's & Young Adult

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea

by Ellis Weiner, illus. by Jeremy Holmes


Meet the Narrator, a funny and enlightening fellow who's most definitely in charge. "Would I like you if I met you?" he asks. "I'm not so sure I would." The Narrator starts the prologue three times, begins chapter two twice, and just when readers think the book will never begin... it does.

Something happens in the Prologue, however: a good-looking young man arrives at Professor Templeton's office to protest his failing grade. Their interview comes to an abrupt halt with the arrival of the titular twins ("The babies are coming!" the secretary announces). Ellis Weiner (Yiddish with Dick and Jane) fast-forwards to Abigail and John Templeton at age 12, being raised by their widowed inventor father. They prove they've inherited their father's intelligence and devise a clever contraption to deliver their request for a fox terrier. Their talents come in handy when the handsome failing student (from the Prologue) kidnaps the twins in exchange for credit (and the proceeds) of one of their father's inventions. Their getaway attempts makes for a page-turning and funny tale.

Jeremy Holmes's (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly) blueprint-hued illustrations and an inviting design incorporate occasional word balloons, cameo appearances in the margins and chapter-ending "Questions for Review" (which may or may not be related to preceding events). This entertaining series will win over word lovers, mystery and puzzle solvers, fans of gadgets and those who previously had not thought of themselves as readers. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A mystery involving resourceful twins and their professor-inventor father, told by an endearingly impudent Narrator.

Chronicle, $16.99, hardcover, 232p., ages 9-12, 9780811866798

Island of Silence: The Unwanteds, Book Two

by Lisa McMann


In this action-packed sequel to The Unwanteds, Lisa McMann turns the tables on the once privileged Wanteds in favor of the Unwanteds.

Months following the deadly battle fought in the first book, the mage Mr. Today removes the gate that once separated Quill, a regulated land, from Artimé, home of creative innovators. This allows Quill's Wanteds and Necessaries a new way of life in a once-hidden world of choices, bright colors and wandering creatures. In Artimé, Mr. Today proposes to 14-year-old Alex Stowe that he train him to one day lead Artimé after he retires. Alex is hesitant to accept. "What if I don't want to have a lifelong battle with my brother?" Alex replies. Meanwhile, Alex's twin, Aaron, the prodigy Wanted, has been demoted after his leader was killed and he was banished from the university to live on the streets. Patiently he plots his return to power, recruiting Wanteds and Necessaries along the way.

Close to assuming leadership, Alex's impulse to trust all new residents of Artimé may prove to be his downfall when Aaron's spy joins Alex's close company. The island of silence plays its role, but Artimé remains center stage, ready for battle, each conflict more devastating than the last. The conflict plays out with new fatal spells and enough fire-breathing origami dragons to ignite the interest of Harry Potter fans.

As Aaron rises from his fall from grace, and Alex steps up as a leader, readers won't want to miss this heated battle. --Adam Silvera, former bookseller

Discover: The game-changing sequel to The Unwanteds where the magical world of Artimé makes itself vulnerable to invasion.

Aladdin, $16.99, hardcover, ages 8-12, 9781442407718

Performing Arts

How Music Works

by David Byrne


David Byrne takes a brilliant insider's look at music in How Music Works. The former Talking Heads front man brings his singular intelligence to the topic, using his own background and extensive experience to illuminate the science, practice and meaning of one of our most human of behaviors.

Byrne discusses how technology has shaped modern pop music, starting with the wax cylinder recordings of the late 1800s and continuing on to the 1970s, when electronic instruments and digital recording technologies appeared. All of these advances shaped the way musicians created and preserved their music, which in turn changed the way music sounds. Byrne's point is that no music can exist separate from its own peculiar context, regardless of its genre or the period in which it was made.

How Music Works illuminates the inner workings of modern music, from Byrne's own experience of it. He spends a chapter discussing the fine details of recording contracts, how musicians make their money (hint: it's not records any more) and the different options upcoming artists have when pursuing a career in pop or rock music.

The joy of How Music Works comes from Byrne's straightforward, no-nonsense tone. He elucidates technology, history and autobiography equally well, telling his stories with wit and charm. Readers interested in Byrne, the modern music industry and music history in general will thoroughly enjoy this book. Creating music is what makes us human, Byrne argues, and he provides an unparalleled view of how we do so. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: David Byrne's engaging, friendly perspective on creating, performing and preserving music lifts even the more technical passages to a delightful pitch.

McSweeney's, $32, hardcover, 9781936365531

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Kids Buzz

Proof of Lies
by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Dear Reader,

How far you would go to save the only person you have left?

PROOF OF LIES is an adrenaline rush that transports the reader from clam chowder in Boston to a boat chase through the dark canals of Venice. My goal was to capture the places I’ve traveled so vividly fans would research airfare to Tuscany. I also wanted to create a family drama so emotional fans would cry and cheer for Anastasia Phoenix.

Even if your world isn’t full of superspies and clandestine organizations, by the time you reach the dramatic ending you’ll be wondering—who would you risk your life for?

For a chance to win a signed copy, email diana.wallach@yahoo.com.

Bookishly yours,

Diana Rodriguez Wallach

 

Buy this book

KidsBuzz: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

PUBLISHER: Entangled Publishing

PUB DATE: March 2017

AGE RANGE: 12 and up

TYPE OF BOOK: YA Thriller

ISBN: 9781633756083

PRICE: $9.99

 

Spirit Quest
by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

Dear Reader,

What if you found a book that combined adventure and history—a way to bring the past to life? Spirit Quest is the story of an Algonquin boy as he grows from child to young adult.

I got the idea to write Spirit Quest while studying the history of the North Carolina coast. I conducted historical research into the lost colonists and native peoples of the Southeast. This book follows the Native American people who met the first English explorers of America. It is the coming-of-age story of Skyco who must learn not only the practical skills of hunting, fishing, and starting a fire, but also the importance of community, connection to ancestry, and the natural linkages in the web of life.

Email me at jfrickruppert@gmail.com to enter to win one of five signed copies!

 

Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

 

Buy this book

KidsBuzz: Spirit Quest by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

PUBLISHER: Amberjack Publishing

PUB DATE: April 18, 2017

AGE RANGE: 9 - 12

TYPE OF BOOK: Middle Grade Fiction

ISBN: 9781944995119

PRICE: $15.99

 

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