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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

This surprising new Russian novel by an Irish theater director knocked my socks off!

With a maturity beyond his years, McKeon exposes the Chernobyl disaster through a luminous cast of characters – the teenage farm boy living 10 km from the reactor, the brilliant and conscientious young surgeon recruited to the scene, and the estranged wife and former journalist suppressed into an assembly line factory job – in this rare glimpse at a waning empire behind the Iron Curtain.

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air By Darragh McKeon ($14.99, Harper Perennial), recommended by Vicki at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

From the acclaimed New Yorker music critic comes a collection of essays covering both early classical and popular music and a worthy follow-up to his successful THE REST IS NOISE.

As a youth, Mr. Ross was a dedicated classical music lover but at the late age of 20, after purchasing his first pop album, became intrigued by the sound, noise and power of popular music and found his perspective of classical music changed forever.

The essays are powerful and passionate and a wonderful read for those willing to expand their listening boundaries.

Listen to This By Alex Ross ($20, Picador USA) Recommended by Tim at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

Astrophysicist Tyson, through a collection of previously written essays, passionately reminds us of our need for space exploration, and rejuvenates the joys of discovery we experienced during the accomplishments of NASA in the 60's and 70's.

We were at our best in science and science education at the peak of the space program, but with the end of the shuttle missions, the interest has waned and important discoveries, in space exploration and technology, are few and far between.

Tyson offers a persuasive argument for the need to further fund a program: that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Well written, informative and accessible.


Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil DeGrasse Tyson ($16.95, WW Norton & Co.), recommended by Tim at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Once in a rare while, you hit on a true story so good you wonder that someone hasn't written a book about it. Robin Hutton struck gold with the life and times of Sgt. Reckless.

Race horse, combat soldier, war hero, mom – this petite filly did it all. No one told HER females didn't belong in combat. So sit back with a beer (Reckless enjoyed the occasional brew) and just absorb what this equine Marine accomplished.

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse by Robin Hutton ($27.99, Regnery History), recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC.

Without a single word, these beautifully detailed and nuanced drawings tell a story of an immigrant trying to establish a better life for his family in a distant country.

The visual tone of the book implies a past we may think we recognize, but with symbols and customs unknown to any specific time or place, Tan constructs a land where any of us may imagine the incredible endeavor of being alone in a completely foreign landscape. Well-crafted and keenly empathetic.

The Arrival By Shaun Tan ($21.99, Arthur A. Levine) Recommended by Rachel at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro NC.

We all know about the US Coast Guard and many of us know about the predecessor, the United States Lifesaving Service. But how many of us have thought about how those rescue men became organized?

Marshall does a wonderful job illuminating the past of the heroes of the coast. Cape Hatteras historical fiction based on fact and full of high adventure.

Surfmen By Charles Marshall ($19, Fireship Press), recommended by Buxton Village Books Buxton NC

How to do justice to a novel that allows you to know each character so intimately that their pain and triumphs are your own?

I fell head-over-heels for twins Noah and Jude. I couldn’t resist Noah, who has a penchant for contextualizing his life into paintings, or Jude, who takes to keeping onions in her pockets to avoid serious illness. The two share an almost other-worldly bond, but as life rapidly spins beyond their control and they retreat into their own internalized worlds, they lose touch with the others’ heart.

Their journey back to one another is absolutely stunning.

Peppered with beautiful imagery and quirky excerpts from Grandma Sweetwine’s folksy bible, I’ll Give You the Sun is a book you’ll wanna hold close to your heart. Or maybe I should just say, I want to give this book to everyone I have ever or will ever meet.

I'll Give You the Sun By Jandy Nelson ($17.99, Dial Books for Young Readers), recommended by Amanda, Foxtale Bookshoppe, Woodstock GA.