Alright, so Dan Brown’s new book comes out today. It’s a huge deal and maybe you’re into that. But I’m just not. Don’t like his writing so much, not really interested in his books, thought the movies were very Eh, so I’m tuning Dan Brown out this week and concentrating on the books that I’m really excited about.
Here are the better releases for May 14, 2013:
On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman; Graywolf Press; 336 pages
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this book compared to The Kite Runner. It’s even in the book description below. And, if you know about The Kite Runner, you understand the level of praise that comparison yields. Graywolf Press is the excellent house that also published Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle, so you know this book is gonna be awesome, too.
In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war
On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there. As the neighbors adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.
In a heartrending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children—a beloved sister and her overprotective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers—contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care. In Ru Freeman’s masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.
Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas; Crown; 320 pages
Super interesting memoir type thing from Crown. A look into the mind of sociopaths that we all hear so much about. I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of those things where, after I read it, I start diagnosing myself and everyone around me…but it’s still gonna be fun.
As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent—even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that’s 1 in 25 people!).
Confessions of a Sociopath takes readers on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, revealing what makes the tick and what that means for the rest of humanity. Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils these men and women who are “hiding in plain sight” for the very first time.
Confessions of a Sociopath is part confessional memoir, part primer for the wary. Drawn from Thomas’ own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and current and historical scientific literature, it reveals just how different – and yet often very similar – sociopaths are from the rest of the world. The book confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy and is both the memoir of a high-functioning, law-abiding (well, mostly) sociopath and a roadmap – right from the source – for dealing with the sociopath in your life, be it a boss, sibling, parent, spouse, child, neighbor, colleague or friend.
As Thomas argues, while sociopaths aren’t like everyone else, and it’s true some of them are incredibly dangerous, they are not inherently evil. In fact, they’re potentially more productive and useful to society than neurotypicals or “empaths,” as they fondly like to call “normal” people. Confessions of a Sociopath demystifyies sociopathic behavior and provide readers with greater insight on how to respond or react to protect themselves, live among sociopaths without becoming victims, and even beat sociopaths at their own game, through a bit of empathetic cunning and manipulation.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi; Knopf; 496 pages
Simply put, a beautiful story from an established author. A global story that covers multiple continents and many themes, this one is a nice full meal of a book.
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.
As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanahis a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.
The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson; Henry Holt; 896 pages
This book is giant, so you know I’m scared of it. I probably won’t successfully convince myself to read it simply because of the size, but for the people out there who are braver than I, this is a great look at the end of WWII. And, who knows, maybe it will inspire you to read the other giant books from Atkinson.
The magnificent conclusion to Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about the Allied triumph in Europe during World War II
It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how the American-led coalition fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle for Western Europe.
D-Day marked the commencement of the final campaign of the European war, and Atkinson’s riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Operation Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich—all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at every level, from presidents and generals to war-weary lieutenants and terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the enormous effort required to win the Allied victory.
With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Atkinson’s accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West.