Booklists · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (August 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.
If you believe ï¿½what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,ï¿½ this series debut is not the book for you, because the backstage action is as wild as the lights out front! Lucky Oï¿½Toole, ï¿½chief problem solverï¿½ at the Babylon mega-resort, has quite a week ï¿½ a swingerï¿½s convention, a suicide-murder, pampering a wealthy Japanese client, and finally, a change in her relationship with her best friend, a female impersonator. Tawdry, seedy, and fun--everything Las Vegas should be.
Jennifer Eganï¿½s books are hard to define, but theyï¿½re always intellectually delightful and original. Simply put, stand-alone chapters examine the changes in the punk music scene since the 1970s. Time is the culprit, as the musicians get older, audiences change, and record producers scramble for the next newest thing. A philosophical work, nostalgic and avant-garde, ï¿½punk Proust for the Internet Era.ï¿½
Hereï¿½s a different kind of vampire story. Nathaniel Cade is a good guy, if somewhat lacking in social skills. Bound by a voodoo oath taken during the Andrew Jackson presidency, his job is to save America from supernatural threats. More assignments are planned for Cade and his new handler, White House staffer Zach Barrows, but this time he has to save the US military from zombie-like transformation. Movie rights have been sold.
This political thriller is so current it seems like a newspaper feature. Islamic blasphemer Sonia Bailey Laghari covertly plans a peace conference in Pakistan, where all the attendees end up as hostages. Theo is the titular good son, a black-ops military guy who decides to go rogue. While Sonia buys time for the captives by using Jungian psychology to interpret dreams, Theo plans a daring rescue mission. Of course, the government is on his heels.
Originally self-published, this emotional coming of age story was picked up by a major publisher and has received critical acclaim. Set in the East Hamptons in the late 1970s, the tale centers on a precocious, yet socially distant heroine, Eveline Auerbach, who finds genuine love and endures cruel heartbreak. As she matures, Eveline comes to realize that life is not defined by one experience, or one love, but rather by the sum of all experiences and all loves.
Beautiful Marï¿½a of My Soul, or, The True Story of Marï¿½a Garcï¿½a y Cifuentes, the Lady Behind a Famous Song
Twenty years ago, Oscar Hijuelos became the first Latino to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love told the story of Nestor Castillo and his Cuban ï¿½migrï¿½ band that had a one-hit wonder, ï¿½Beautiful Maria of My Soulï¿½, in the 1950s. This companion book brings the inspiration of his song to life. Maria took her strong survival instincts and stunning look to Havana, seeking a better life. Her story is sultry and passionate, a fitting mood of the place and time, as she longs for Nestor, her lost true love.
The beautiful spa hotel in West Baden Springs, Indiana haunts filmmaker Eric Shaw, who has come to film a documentary about the dying billionaire Campbell Bradford. A mysterious antique bottle of Pluto Water seems Shawï¿½s key to understanding the early years of Bradfordï¿½s life and the faded glory of the now-renovated resort. Hallucinations start to plague the filmmaker, allowing him glimpses of the townï¿½s glory days, as well as the brooding, unseen evil that abides in the Indiana heartland.
In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King picks this as one of his six must-reads of the summer, so you know youï¿½re in for a treat. While making a night deposit of laundered drug money, kingpin Manco Kapak is robbed. He fingers new-guy-in-town Joe Carver, dispatching hit men, whom Joe eludes. Every character is in this gangster-thriller is a gem and the plot is so twisted that the reader just hangs on for the final reveal of whoï¿½s caught and whoï¿½s not.
Location, location, location ï¿½ itï¿½s everything in real estate, and historic value doesnï¿½t hurt either. A spacious Central Park apartment suddenly puts the Finns in the lap of luxury, and sister Tina is sent to squat there. The state of the apartment is as appalling as Tinaï¿½s life becomes while dealing with the demanding co-op board and resentful former tenants. Cincinnati native Rebeck gives us insight into the joys (?) of Manhattan living and what it means to call a place home.
With four wives and 28 children spread between three houses, youï¿½d think Golden Richards couldnï¿½t be lonely. Yet he is: shuffled around in an arrangement made by the wives, while his children clamor for their time with Daddy. Heï¿½s so lonely that heï¿½s thinking about having an affair. Twelve-year-old son, Rusty (wife #3), is attention-deprived, too, launching catastrophic stunts to get noticed. An empathetic and significant book that many reviewers have hinted may be the next great American novel.
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