January 2010

Reading Recommendations · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (January 2010)

Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.

The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

Peter Ackroyd
Victor Frankenstein and Bysshe Shelley-two 19th century Oxford scholars-become plausible intellectual companions who strive to perfect mankind in this imaginative re-telling of the classic Frankenstein tale. Mary Shelley, Byron, and Keats form an intellectual coterie, who witness Victor's reanimation experiment go monstrously wrong. "Most will agree that (Ackroyd's) novel is a brilliant riff on ideas that have informed literary, horror and science fiction for nearly two centuries."-Publishers Weekly

The Wrong Mother

Sophie Hannah
While on a business trip, Sally Thorning�a married mother of two�impulsively has a brief fling with Mark Bretherick. A year later, Bretherick�s wife allegedly kills her own daughter and commits suicide. After Sally is pushed in front of a bus and nearly killed and the safety of her family is threatened, she embarks on a frantic chase to uncover clues about the true identity of her ex-lover. Publishers Weekly says, �Paced like a ticking time bomb with flawlessly distinct characterization, this is a fiercely fresh and un-put-downable read.�

Stardust

Joseph Kanon
GI Ben Collier joins his film director brother Danny in Hollywood to shoot a documentary about Germany�s concentration camps, in homage to their father (a filmmaker killed by the Nazis). When Danny mysteriously falls from a window and dies, Ben is thrust into an investigation that involves a colorful cast of characters, including Danny�s sultry widow, anticommunist politicians, and Paulette Goddard and Greer Garson. �Kanon operates with an intelligence that briskly evokes the atmosphere of a vanished era." �New York Times Book Review

Memories of the Future

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Krzhizhanovsky, a Soviet encyclopedia editor in the 1920s, wrote a fascinating collection of dystopian short fiction that has been overlooked for years in the State Archives of Moscow-- until now. In Memories of the Future, editor and translator Jo Anne Turnbull has selected a number of Krzhizhanovsky�s most intriguing tales that explore Kafkaesque dreamlike states, a time machine that navigates a Communist future, and the author�s angry commentary on the oppression of his time, in a collection Publishers Weekly calls �fantastically imaginative, darkly ironic and marvelously crafted.�

Chronic City

Jonathan Lethem
Critically acclaimed novelist Lethem blends magic realism and science fiction in a tale set in a futuristic, surreal New York City. Chase Insteadman, a former child star and mid-tier socialite, becomes a media darling when his astronaut/fianc�e is trapped in space. Meanwhile, Insteadman�s hard living crony Perkus Tooth leads the two on a frenzied, hilarious search for truth and meaning in the Big Apple, in a novel Kirkus Reviews calls, �Lethem's most ambitious work to date, and his best since Motherless Brooklyn (2001).�

Family Album

Penelope Lively
The Allersmeade estate holds dark and nearly forgotten family secrets that swirl around Charles and Alison Harper and their family. As adults, the dutiful Harper children confront an inevitable unraveling of their family's domestic traditions in a compulsively readable story, rich in characterization. Lively's 16th novel contains 16 chapters-"several of them brilliant, full of glancing humor and spot-on truths about the way families maintain the peace through a process of willful ignorance and disciplined forgetfulness."-The Washington Post

Dracula: the Un-Dead

Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt
Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew and an esteemed Dracula historian intend to "right the wrongs of Bram's original classic," in this inventive sequel to the famous novel. Twenty five years after the demise of Dracula, vampire-hunters John and Mina Harker, their son Quincey, Dr. Van Helsing, and Lucy Westerna battle the murderous vampire Countess Bathory. Publishers Weekly says, "Energetically paced and packed with outrageously entertaining action, this supernatural thriller is a well-needed shot of fresh blood for the Dracula mythos."

Reheated Cabbage

Irvine Welsh
From the prolific author of Trainspotting comes a new collection of bawdy and riotous stories culled from magazines and out-of-print anthologies. In his keen vernacular style, Welsh skillfully portrays unforgettable, boisterous characters, with their witty, incisive slang, and their extreme attempts to escape a mundane world. �The lilting Scottish dialect, appalling scenarios, and high humor make for a totally entertaining collection.� --Booklist
Need more suggestions? Email the Popular Library or contact your local branch and our staff will be happy to assist you.