New Release Roundup: Recommendations for May 2012
Every month I'll be toiling in the dank, dark mines of literary obscurity, scouring the catalogues of every major publisher to bring the LitReactor faithful a few choice titles hitting the shelves. The following is a brief look at what's worth checking out in May. Full disclosure: unless otherwise noted, none of the below books have been reviewed by myself or other LitReactor staff. These are just a few recommendations based on publisher's notes and my own opinions. Without further ado:
'Deadlocked' by Charlaine Harris
Just in case you haven't been able to get your contemporary-vampire fix lately, the author of the Sooki Stackhouse (the inspiration for HBO's True Blood) series just released her twelfth volume. I must admit, I'm no veteran of the series, but word on the street is Harris' last novel was something of a bust. Perhaps she will return to form with this one, but if not...it's got vampires in it, right? How bad can it be?
'In One Person' by John Irving
The author of the wonderful The World According to Garp returns with this novel, his first since 2009's Last Night in Twisted River. This story is told from the point of view of a bisexual man relating his quest to be considered "worthwhile" whilst living his life as a "sexual suspect" (a phrase first coined by Irving in Garp). Themes of sexuality, sexual identity, and self-fulfillment abound, making this novel, at least in theory, textbook Irving.
'The Year of the Gadfly' by Jennifer Miller
Speaking of Irving, this tale of prep schools gone bonkers seems like something the New England scribe would approve of. Iris Dupont is a budding journalist, who, guided by the ghost of Edward R. Murrow (!), seeks to root out a newly active secret society (think Skull & Bones for kids) that is blackmailing and intimidating students and faculty alike. Skullduggery and mischief abound!
'Home' by Toni Morrison
This new novel by "America's most celebrated novelist" (according to the publisher's synopsis) tells the story of a traumatized Korean war veteran who is returned to America after being wounded in battle. Physically and psychologically scarred, Frank Money is unable to return to his hometown in Georgia until he receives a mysterious message, warning him that his sister is in grave danger and my die if he doesn't return. He sets out on foot and must rely on courage and the kindness of strangers to help his family member in need.
'The Future is Japanese' edited by Haikasoru
The island nation of Japan has long fascinated outsiders, as is evident in literary works by authors of all different nationalities that have felt inspired by or outright aped the country's inherent contradictions. Equally obsessed with tradition and nationalism as technological advancement, Japan and her people have showed up in countless literary works, perhaps most notably in the realm of futuristic science fiction (see Neuromancer, et al). This collection of stories from both Japanese and non-Japanese authors is a must-have for anybody who has ever been fascinated by the Land of the Rising Sun.
'Me the People' by Kevin Bleyer
Who else but a long-time writer for The Daily Show would have the balls to publish a book that very (correctly) asserts that the constitution is far from the flawless document so many believe it to be? Bleyer knows his way around the laughs, but pre-publishing information seems to indicate that he takes his research seriously, as the journey takes him from Greece (the birthplace of democracy) to Philadelphia (the birthplace of America), to New York (where he tries to find a guy named John Hancock to sign his newly revised constitution). If you like your comedy with a bit of politics (or your politics with a dose of the chuckles), you're going to want to check this one out.
'Tubes' by Andrew Blum
The question "What is the Internet?" might seem like something your dad or five-year-old cousin might ask, but as author Andrew Blum points out, the Internet, at its beginning and still today, exists in the physical world, requires maintenance, and is constantly being expanded and improved upon. Blum sets out, in the most fascinating way possible, to explain the age old question "How does it work?" to a bunch of snotty pintrest addicts (or web writers). Will he succeed? And more importantly, will anybody after our generation care? Only time (and reviews) will tell!
Happy reading, everybody! As always, leave a few lines: do these sound interesting? Anything been overlooked? Picked up one of these titles and loved/hated it? Let us know!
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