Parenthood memoir offers plenty of laughs
We all have writers whose work we enjoy. Whether they are novelists, biographers, historians or bloggers, everyone who reads has writers who resonate with them for whatever reason. And if one of your favorites writes something new, you check it out … even if the subject matter isn’t necessarily what you would expect.
My familiarity with Drew Magary springs primarily from his columns on the sports blog Deadspin and to a lesser extent his work as a correspondent for GQ. One of Magary’s regular Deadspin features is a segment he calls “Dadspin,” in which he relates the trials and tribulations of parenthood in his own wildly funny and impeccably profane voice.
Young adult book quality reading for all ages
While it is important to make a distinction when it comes to young adult fiction, there is no doubt that YA literature is at its absolute best when it blurs that line between “young” and “adult.” Just because a book’s primary audience skews younger doesn’t mean that it can’t be well-written. It doesn’t mean that it has to be condescending in any way. Kids know when they are being talked down to; the best YA stuff always respects the intelligence of its audience.
Make way for the next big thing in young adult fiction. “The 5th Wave” (Putnam, $18.99) is coming.
Sci-fi detective story a ripping good read
Science fiction is first and foremost a literature of ideas. However, without an engaging story behind them, those ideas tend to fall flat.
What makes a good science fiction writer great is the ability to infuse gripping sci-fi with ideas that are both grandiose and grounded – feasible futures. Robert J. Sawyer is one of the most consistent authors out there in bringing readers that dynamic blend.
Maine native’s latest explores the power and perils of family
Elizabeth Strout was born in Portland and raised in a variety of small towns across Maine and New Hampshire. After an academic and professional career that sent her far and wide, she still spends time living in Maine, splitting her time between here and New York City.
She is also a Pulitzer Prize winner, having taken the award for fiction in 2009 for her short-story collection “Olive Kitteridge.”
‘Who’s on Worst?’ looks at bottom of baseball’s barrel
There are many reasons that we love sports, but one of the biggest is the fun found in athletic subjectivity. Using evidence both statistical and anecdotal to debate who was better or the best – Russell or Wilt, Montana or Brady, Jordan or James - there’s nothing better to a hardcore sports fan.
But of all the sports, baseball likely inspires more of these debates than any other. The game’s deep dedication to history and devotion to ever-evolving statistical analysis makes it perfect for these sorts of conversations. Everyone’s got their favorites and everyone has a reason why their guy is the best of all time.
Collection offers look at society’s fringes and failures
Short fiction is relatively easy to write. Good short fiction, however, is quite difficult. Any writer can tell a story in a few thousand words. Telling a story that makes an impact and moves the reader in those same few thousand words is an art that many writers will never master.
Sam Lipsyte’s newest book “The Fun Parts” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $24) is that rare collection that carries that art forward into full bloom. It’s a baker’s dozen worth of postcards from the edge; each of the 13 stories is a glimpse at the people existing on the fringe. The characters populating Lipsyte’s literary landscape aren’t the sort that the reader is meant to love – or even to like, to be truthful – but they are brought to life with sharply-honed cleverness and furious glee.
New novel offers insight into the nature of truth
Just how true must something be in order to be considered “truth”? And what makes one truth truer than another?
These are the kinds of questions that sit at the center of “Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles” (Viking; $26.95), the latest novel from acclaimed author (and Waterville resident) Ron Currie Jr. Through one man’s physical, intellectual and emotional quests, the reader is swept up into a tale of love and loss - and yes, the nature of truth - told in a unique voice.
From the very earliest days of the science fiction genre, authors have been exploring the implications of moving back and forth in time.
Author Sean Ferrell offers his own take on the genre in his newest novel “Man in the Empty Suit” (Soho Press, $24.95). Rather than attack the concept of time travel on a macro level, Ferrell instead chooses to share a story on the micro level; it’s the tale of one man – the inventor of the time machine.
Our unnamed narrator is the first man to achieve time travel. However, after untold time spent traveling from the distant past to the future and back again, the outside world has begun to lose some of its appeal. So every year, he spends his birthday partying – with himself.
‘Game Over’ shows connection between sports and politics
In today’s cultural landscape, sports are much more than what takes place on the field.
With “Game Over,” author Dave Zirin has laid out his case for a perhaps-unexpected truth: sports and politics are irrevocably intertwined. The political theater and the athletic arena share an undeniable overlap, and the sporting world can and does have a real effect on the realm of the political.
Maine author’s second historical mystery an even stronger offering
Last year, Maine author Kieran Shields blew me away with his debut novel “The Truth of All Things;” I even included it in my “Best Reads of 2012.” It was a wonderfully constructed historical mystery populated by a cast of fascinating characters.
His latest book is “A Study in Revenge” (Crown, $25). In it, we once again pay a visit to the turn-of-the-century Portland that Shields has meticulously created. We also get to become reacquainted with his notable creations - Portland policeman Archie Lean and the indefatigable detective Perceval Grey.
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