One More Page Books

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...but still some time to read

Lauren Oliver's new book, Delirium, comes out in Feb 2011. Love is a disease, but you can't be "cured" until you are 18, so kids must be protected during the dangerous period prior to the cure. The cure will keep you "happy and safe forever." At the beginning of each chapter, Oliver takes famous quotes and bible passages and turns them on their ear for this new world when love is illegal. Regulators, invalids, the Wilds, sympathizers. No matter how you fight it, love will find a way.

On a totally different note, Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory about Pat Tillman, is disturbing, but like Delirium in one key way. In both books, governments, sure they are right, will go to great lengths to move forward their beliefs. In an aside, I was reminded about the meaning of snafu from soldiers in the 1940's (appropriate word for events in this book): Situation Normal; All F**ed Up.

Hadn't read any of Michael Chabon's books previously, although they've been on my list. Drawn into The Yiddish Policemen's Union and had to really read this closely. It's a complex mystery set in Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the 1948 collapse of the state of Israel. The end of the "temporary" haven is fast approaching and different players are looking to move in. Chabon has a way of inserting wonderful descriptions that made me go back and re-read them (did that really say that!??!). Great book.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Right Stuff can be Scary (and Gross): Packing for Mars

My wonderful sister reviewed Mary Roach's Packing for Mars which I have not had the pleasure of reading yet. After hearing Mary speak at BookExpo in June, I have been singing her praises far and wide as she had the entire audience, incl. host Jon Stewart, gasping and laughing throughout her talk. After reading her book, you too many wonder (as she did) about the wisdom of inviting her to speak at breakfast. Without further ado, the review:

Did you ever wonder why almost every time there is a news story about the International Space Station (ISS), they have a clogged toilet up there? In her latest book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Mary Roach will clue you in on that as well as the good, the bad, and the excruciatingly unpleasant aspects of space travel (see chapter 14 for more about the ISS plumbing problems). You may have seen her on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or heard Craig Finn Of 'The Hold Steady' answer questions about the book on the NPR quiz show, Wait Wait ... Don’t tell me! this past July 24. I first became aware of her books when I saw her on C-SPAN 2’s Book TV talking about her previous book, Stiff: The Curious Life of Cadavers (simultaneously icky and interesting).

Caveat: while her books are certainly educational, they are definitely not for the faint of heart and probably not intended for most pre-adolescent children. It cuts right to the heart of how the US and Soviets ran their space programs, what they did to both humans and animals to get things to work, and what those largely forgotten astronauts and cosmonauts endured to keep us enraptured over 40 years ago. And it’s not a pretty picture, even in the future.

That said, with her tongue-in-cheek style, Mary tackles all of those questions us non-astronauts ask about space travel:
• Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff gave us the American perspective but how do the Japanese select their astronaut candidates?
• How difficult is it to work in zero gravity (and how lousy can it really make you feel)?
• Will personal hygiene become more medieval than metrosexual?
• In order to reduce weight and waste, will future astronauts have to eat their clothes (or worse)?
• What will the impact of long-term space flight (e.g., two years to and from Mars) have on physiology and personal relationships?
These and many other questions are being carefully over-planned, leading to many fraught-filled adventures here on Earth. As the subtitle on one of her chapters notes, “Planning a Moon Expedition is Tough, but Not as Tough as Planning a Simulated One.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where Men Win Glory

Jon Krakauer's books never fail to draw me in, although I admit it took a while for this one about Pat Tillman to capture my full attention.

The books starts with Pat's upbringing, the influence of his parents and relationship with his brother, Kevin and wife Marie. Intermingled with Pat's story are chapters on what is happening in the rest of the world which set the scene for the war Pat will be joining. In these early chapters, he grows into someone almost too good to be true. Fortunately Krakauer also shows Pat's intensity and inability to suffer fools (who seem to be plentiful).

When Pat goes to Iraq and later to Afghanistan, that's when the book became engrossing. Even knowing the story of the cover-up regarding the circumstances of his death, the telling does not lose the ability to shock and disillusion us. I applaud the perseverance of Pat's family, friends and others who persisted in knowing the truth and for, as always, Krakauer's excellent research skills.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things are speeding up for the store

Nice piece in Publishers Weekly about One More Page. It generated a bunch of calls from publishers reps which is wonderful. Things are moving along with the floor plan finalized work on the store will begin soon (hopefully!).

Things are starting to come together!