This is a reimagined story about the childhood of Vlad the Impaler if he had been born a woman. It reads like a fantasy novel, though it is historical fiction. Lada is the main character, and the story follows her life with her brother after being abandoned by their father and raised by the Ottomans. It gives insight into what that time was like, as well as an interesting look at the religion of the Ottomans.
Zadie Smith is an author who receives constant and well-deserved praise from critics but seems to evade other casual readers and bookworms with ease. Each of her novels paints a rich and textured portrait of its characters in a delicate and intimate way. In White Teeth, Smith uses her author's paintbrush to expertly illustrate the inner workings of six different characters. Although these characters are encapsulated within two close families and only have a minor generational gap, each is painfully unique. This novel is a personal favorite, and as her first, it's a great place to begin reading her novels and essays. She is a modern master; she is a peer to both Toni Morrison and Dave Eggers, bridging the gap between classic and hip. I implore you, reader to reader, please give this underrated author a spot on your shelf. Please read Zadie Smith.
The personal experiences of the author during the Vietnam War
I've never been a huge fan of war stories, but this book had me completely hooked. Tim O'Brien is a Vietnam vet, and he used his experiences to write partially fictional short stories over the years. The Things They Carried is a reworking of those stories. It includes lots of commentary from the author himself, walking you through everything that happened and giving you a glimpse of what war is actually like. From beginning to end, I was enthralled with his story. The way he explains his feelings and describes the horrors he saw - and the way he describes scenes as if you're there living it with him - will have you both horrified and wanting more. I definitely recommend it.
The Marvels is a beautiful story whose narration is split between image and prose. The first half of the book is entirely in black and white sketches, giving the illusion of a cinematic silent film, which is remarkably enthralling. The final half is written out in prose, telling the story of a young boy searching for the truth of his family. The two halves begin to weave together, culminating in a timeless, fresh and moving story. I highly recommend this book to any age group. It is fun, inventive, inspiring - and the unique way its told really makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Six of Crows is the fantasy version of Oceans Eleven you didn't know you needed until it's 3am and you're still telling yourself, "Just one more chapter..." I read this entire book in the span of two days, and had I the time, I would've plowed through it in one sitting. I haven't been this enthralled with a book since I was in high school. In addition to being a wonderfully written book, it brought back an enthusiasm for reading that I didn't know I still had.
The first time I read this book, it rocked so hard that it took me a few months to pick up a new one. This book is so well-written and fascinating, and told in such a unique perspective, that you won't be able to put it down. Patrick Rothfuss has blown away the competition with The Name of the Wind. He's successfully created a world that has depth, complexity and an amazing history. The character of Kvothe is like no one you've met before, and the way he tells his own story will leave you laughing, crying and sitting on the edge of your seat. I promise, if you pick up this book, you will never forget it.
A pop culture quest for the '80s kids in my heart.
A fun walk down memory lane for a child of the '80s, Ready Player One is a quick and fun read filled with nostalgic pop culture references from the '80s and '90s. The characters are relatable to anyone that grew up as a nerdy outcast. The plot is paced well and the bits of action keep you turning the page to see where Parzival's next adventure will take him. It reads much like an early Christopher Columbus film. Pick up your copy today. It will not disappoint.
An exploration into the amazon and into the life of Percy Fawcett
In The Lost City of Z, David Grann not only tells the story of one of the most adventurous men of all time, who disappeared chasing a legend that consumed him just after the turn of the 20th century, but a story of his own, of trying to discover what really happened to the renowned Colonel Percy Fawcett. While reading this book, I found myself as consumed with the City of Z as Fawcett was. Grann does a wonderful job sparking the reader's interest and holding on to it through the entire story. By the end of this book, you'll be ready to pack your things and head into the Amazon yourself in search of Colonel Fawcett and his legendary Lost City of Z.
This is the first book in the Belgariad quintet, and it starts off with the same tone that the rest of the series has - both humorous and serious in turns. The Belgariad is a sprawling, epic fantasy where the fate of the world is at stake, yet the dialogue is delightfully snappy. Kind of like some wild lovechild of Terry Pratchett and J.R.R. Tolkien!
A fun modern exposition of ancient mystery traditions!
The 13th Disciple is a fun read that you can breeze through. It portrays a modern mystery school in which the characters find themselves connected to one another. It has elements of the struggles of daily life, and reminds you that everyone has a deeper existence than that of the persona. And it arouses a content mindset that, if you have hope, you will see the beauty in the mysteries of life. Regardless of preconceived notions on spirituality, anyone could find joy in this book and its message of overcoming.
See the depths of the unfathomable as author Rob Sanders shows you the definition of insanity and what it takes for those to endure madness. With a cast of truly unforgettable characters, the now classic (and so, so grim) setting of Warhammer and a plot that leaves you thinking, this book will surprise and entertain fans of stories featuring anti-heroes.
A veritable rogues' gallery from a master of the crime thriller
In a career spanning over half a century, Lawrence Block has introduced some of the most intriguing characters in the mystery genre. This collection of eighty-plus short stories includes many of them... the wistful hitman Keller, alcoholic PI Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr, a burglar who ends up solving crimes more serious than the ones he commits. Other stories are gleaned from Block's early days selling stories to magazines. All in all, this hefty tome provides a superb introduction to a legend in his field and a treasure trove to longtime fans.
This book is physically lovely, with its elegant black and white papercut aesthetic, to say nothing of being beautifully written. Morgenstern's debut novel started out at as a NaNoWriMo draft, but it has been meticulously polished and fine-tuned. A romance, a mystery, the story of a feud... this book has it all. And all throughout, the ethereal thread of magic, both terrible and awe-inspiring. I highly, highly recommended.
What if everything you thought you knew about humanity was wrong?
From Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House, comes her best work yet. Set in a not-too-distant future, the main character, Cedar, discovers she is pregnant. Like any new parent, she is excited and nervous. But for some unknown reason, genetic rarities are popping up all over the world. Quickly, a dystopian tone sets the stage for the rest of the book. Pregnant and on the run from new government laws, Cedar tries to come to terms with her new life, and the life inside her. This book has shades of sci-fi, romance, and family drama - all tied together by Cedar's spiritual journey. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopian fiction or is looking for something new and refreshing.
Considering it is the world's fastest growing and third largest religion, I am of the mind that everyone should know something of Islam and Muslims. And this is the book for it. Aslan's trip through pre-Islamic Arabia, the time of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and Islam's first few centuries after the Prophet's death show us the challenges of the early Muslim community in regards to doctrine, leadership and the codification of the Qur'an, some of which are still being argued. No god but God is a great introduction to the Islamic religion and its rich and beautiful history.
The quest for Mithral Hall is complete, the rightful king has taken the throne but trouble still comes for the companions of the Hall. Legacy is the first book in the third set of novels that comprise The Legend of Drizzt. This is a transitional book that takes us from the permafrost of Icewind Dale back to the Dwarven stronghold - and ultimately back to the Underdark, where a few of the companions' pasts catch up to them. Action-packed, fast-paced fantasy that you expect from a pro like R.A. Salvatore.
In the Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein highlights the methodology of disaster capitalism in comprehensive detail. She explains how governments use disasters to privatize utilities of different countries in order to transfer power to corporations at the cost of the lives of the people in whatever country these multinational corporations are interested in. Every American should read this book!
Former Zen Monk and well-known Buddhist scholar, Steven Batchelor presents a fascinating view of a secular Buddhism stripped of the metaphysical and ontological aspects. Utilizing the earliest texts in the original Pali, he presents the teachings of a very human Siddhartha Gotama, not the mystical god-like Buddha. Here is a dharma before it was colored by the influence of Indian Brahmanism, as well as the that of Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto and the indigenous Bon religion of Tibet, as the dharma spread from the Indian subcontinent. Here is a non-dogmatic, non-religious dharma that maintains the goal of the elimination of suffering without the baggage of the cycle of rebirth and the effects of karma - a philosophical Buddhism for a secular age.
Brownies and Broomsticks is the first in a new cozy mystery series by Bailey Cates. This series pits our feisty and resilient heroine against baddies both young and old. Add in the fact that she's recently discovered her witch heritage and readers are in for a treat. Set in the bustling city of Savannah, Georgia and filled with quirky but relatable characters, this book series is one for mystery, fantasy and romance fans alike. Cozy up with some biscotti, you're going to enjoy this read.
At Play in the Fields of the Lord seems like a run-of-the-mill fish-out-of-water story when it begins, but it soon reveals itself as a complex, exciting psycho-drama! The book takes place deep in the Amazon, where a general, two mercenaries and pair of missionary families have come to contact a "lost" tribe of indigenous people. Each party has a different reason for this encounter. The characters are written richly and enigmatically, and the dialogue is full of amusing subtext. It's a challenging read but also an exciting page-turner.