|Sent on:||Thursday, April 12, 2012 8:51 AM|
Great meeting tuesday. As requested by Marissa, 1st place for poll is book for May, 2nd place is book June. Go to the poll section on the site to vote.
Embassytown by China Mieville
China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—withEmbassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.
Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language. When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Ed is a 19-year-old loser only marginally connected to the world; he's the son that not even his mother loves. But his life begins to change after he acts heroically during a robbery. Perhaps it's the notoriety he receives that leads to his receiving playing cards in the mail. Ed instinctively understands that the scrawled words on the aces are clues to be followed, which lead him to people he will help (including some he'll have to hurt first). But as much as he changes those who come into his life, he changes himself more. Two particular elements will keep readers enthralled: the panoply of characters who stream in and out of the story, and the mystery of the person sending Ed on the life-altering missions. Concerning the former, Zusak succeeds brilliantly. Ed's voice is assured and unmistakeable, and other characters, although seen through Ed's eyes, are realistically and memorably evoked (readers will almost smell Ed's odoriferous dog when it ambles across the pages).
The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella
Food aficionado Capella (The Food of Love) brews a tale of a young poet-turned-coffee-expert in 19th-century England. Robert Wallis, a lazy 20-something poet, meets a man in an artists' cafe and soon has a job. With his talent for over-description, Wallis is the perfect employee for Samuel Pinker, a coffee merchant wanting to create a guide to the world's coffee beans. Unfortunately, Wallis falls short trying to woo Pinker's daughter Emily with charming epigrams and his oversized ego. To spare his daughter from scandal, Pinker sends Wallis on a journey around the world, and the real story begins. Political issues of the time—from the slave trade to women's rights—provide the backdrop for Wallis's expedition. Navigating a series of unpredictable challenges, Wallis transforms from an apathetic charmer to a poised young man. Despite the lack of food details prevalent in Capella's earlier work—coffee doesn't have quite the same appeal—the surprising plot twists and authentic love story will make this a crowd pleaser.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off into the Amazon jungle to find the remains and effects of a colleague who recently died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. But first she must locate Dr. Anneck Swenson, a renowned gynecologist who has spent years looking at the reproductive habits of a local tribe where women can conceive well into their middle ages and beyond. Eccentric and notoriously tough, Swenson is paid to find the key to this longstanding childbearing ability by the same company for which Dr. Singh works. Yet that isn’t their only connection: both have an overlapping professional past that Dr. Singh has long tried to forget. In finding her former mentor, Dr. Singh must face her own disappointments and regrets, along with the jungle’s unforgiving humidity and insects, making State of Wonder a multi-layered atmospheric novel that is hard to put down. Indeed, Patchett solidifies her well-deserved place as one of today’s master storytellers. Emotional, vivid, and a work of literature that will surely resonate with readers in the weeks and months to come, State of Wonder truly is a thing of beauty and mystery, much like the Amazon jungle itself
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A Newbery Medal–winning classic is reinvented in a gift edition format with illustrations from the acclaimed artist Bagram Ibatoulline. Since winning the Newbery Medal in 1994, Lois Lowry’s The Giver has become one of the most influential novels of our time.This new illustrated edition, a celebration of the book’s standard of excellence and of Lowry’s illustrious writing, makes a perfect gift. The text is complemented by thirteen
new illustrations from the acclaimed artist Bagram Ibatoulline. Also included are a new introduction by the author and her inspiring Newbery Medal acceptance speech. The new content and gift packaging now make it easier than ever to introduce young readers to this riveting modern classic, and provide a fresh edition for its legions of fans. The story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.