Jun 25, 2013
Here's your handy scoop on the books reviewed in our local papers over this fine weekend!
On the St. Paul side, the Pioneer Press featured:
Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen - Andrew Yancy, late of the Miami Police, soon-to-be-late of the Key West Police, has a human arm in his freezer. There is a logical explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, his commander might relieve him of Health Inspector duties, aka Roach Patrol. But first Yancy will negotiate an ever-surprising course of events, from the Keys to Miami to a Bahamian out island, with a crew of equally ever-surprising characters, including: the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; an avariciously idiotic real estate developer; a voodoo witch whose lovers are blinded-unto-death by her particularly peculiar charms; Yancy's new love, a kinky medical examiner; and the eponymous Bad Monkey.
And at the Star Tribune Books section:
Inferno by Dan Brown - In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces--Dante's "Inferno"--as he battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.
The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village by Anna Badkhen - An unforgettable portrait of a place and a people shaped by centuries of art, trade, and war. Badkhen first traveled to Afghanistan in 2001, as a war correspondent. She has returned many times since, and tells a story through the four seasons in which a new carpet is woven by the women and children of Oqa.
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld - When the strongest earthquake in U.S. history occurs just north of their St. Louis home, Kate and Jeremy find the disaster further complicated by Kate's self-proclaimed-medium twin's prediction about a more powerful earthquake, a situation that places Kate under public scrutiny and reveals her own psychic abilities.
A Short Bright Flash: Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse by Theresa Levitt - Levitt explores how a scientific outsider came up with a revolutionary theory of light and saved untold numbers of lives.
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell - When a recently retired family patriarch clears out his bank account and disappears during a sweltering summer in 1976, his three children converge on their mother's home for the first time in years and track clues to an ancestral village in Ireland, where they uncover illuminating family secrets.
By the Way: Essays on Books and Life, Music, Birds, Gardening, Food, Firewood, and the Great Outdoors by John Toren - In "By the Way," John Toren offers an eclectic portrait of modern life in essays ranging in subject from river-running to pre-Columbian astronomy, with stops along the way at a World Press conclave, a naturalists' convention, a concert pianist's master class, a booksellers' trade show, and a Louisiana crayfish festival. In one essay he reflects on the advisability of accumulating books, in another he reports on the whimsical goings-on at an ice-shanty village. Whether it's analyzing the challenges of buying firewood from itinerant merchants or parsing the distinction between the absurd and the impossible, there's something for everyone in this wide-ranging, thoughtful collection.