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This week’s staff pick is the beginning of a new children’s/YA series full of adventure, male and female heroines, and the interesting and bizarre.  Our staffer found it refreshing, original, and highly recommends it.  Those who loved The Golden Compass, and fans of Garth Nix, Diana Wynne, Jones, and Tamora Pierce will love this novel about maps, adventure, and exploration.

“She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.”– Taken from Goodreads.com


The Glass Sentence

S. E. Grove

Published: Jun 12, 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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This week’s staff pick has been making the rounds around the staff, and everyone who’s picked it up has loved it.  This is a building-wide staff pick, and in November it’ll be a movie starring Matt Damon.    The premise is that an astronaut finds himself stranded on Mars, with no rescue in sight for years.   Compulsively readable, Mark Watney is funny, determined, and brilliant.  You’ll be rooting for him from page 1.   This is a fast read (you won’t want to put it down), and every staff member who’s read this encourages you to go pick this up and read it now.   Like, right now.  Hurry up and place your hold!

It should be noted that there is a lot of science in the book (there would have to be to survive), but it’s broken down into easily understood language, and doesn’t slow down the plot.  A couple engineers have read this, and say it checks out.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”–Taken from Goodreads.com 


The Martian: A Novel

Andy Weir

Published: Feb 11, 2014 by Crown
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Large type:

9781410469571

The Martian

Andy Weir

Published: Jul 09, 2014 by Thorndike Press
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This week’s staff pick is from a bestselling author, but maybe not one you’ve read before.   Once again it has a long time span and one event effects a lot of people, with some suspense thrown in there, but it’s an excellent novel according to our staffer and worth the read.

“In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves… From the exclusive men’s club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world’s wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy… men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped, or not just one man’s dreams, but those of a nation, will die…”– Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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This week’s staff pick is a hysterical bite-s-zed novel, perfect for some beach reading.  Our staffer literally laughed out loud several times reading this. This is a fast read, all written via letters of recommendation that a beleaguered creative writing professor writes over the course of a year, and his story comes out through them (all fiction, all hilarious).  As they said: “Pick this up, you won’t regret it.”

Finally, a novel that puts the “pissed” back into “epistolary.”

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can’t catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville’s Bartleby.

In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms.”– Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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This week’s staff pick is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Six stories in one that follow the same reincarnated souls through time, this novel is wildly inventive.  The first part may seem a bit slow, but once you get to the second story, the novel takes off.  A wild, complicated ride that’s well worth the effort, this novel also inspired the movie starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.  Our staffer highly recommends this, or one of Mitchell’s other works – like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a historical novel where once you finish the first part, the story explodes into soap opera worthy drama and high stakes. Psst- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would count for your book that takes place in Asia for the Read Harder Challenge.

“Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

But the story doesn’t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.” Taken from Goodreads.com


Cloud Atlas: A Novel

David Mitchell

Published: Nov 20, 2012 by Modern Library
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