Thursday, July 21, 2016

Meg's Picks: August 2016, part 1

If August is anywhere near as hot and humid as the last few weeks have been, you may find yourself in need of some reading materials to keep you company while you're trying to stay cool. Luckily, there are some very cool titles being published next month.

A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny. Canadian-born mystery author (and winner of any number of awards, including Anthony and Agatha ) Penny has become quite a reader favorite recently, and I'm predicting that her new title, the thirteenth to feature Inspector Armand Gamanche, will win her even more devoted fans.
When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But go he must. Interested in the origins of Gamanche's adventures? Start with the first in the series, Still Life.

Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel. Advance buzz about Neuvel's debut caught my eye when they recommended the novel to readers who enjoyed books like Andy Weir's The Martian (whose film adaptation starring Matt Damon was nominated for seven Oscars)  and Max Brooks's World War Z (adapted both as a film in 2013 & starring Brad Pitt). Now, I adored both books and thoroughly enjoyed both films, so I was really intrigued! A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.  But some can never stop searching for answers. Equal parts action, mystery, sci-fi and adventure, I have a feeling this will be adapted to film--soon! (Edited to add: This was actually moved up and is already available in print. Get your copy today!)

The Book That Matters Most, by Ann Hood. Best-selling author Hood has made some serious impact on readers with titles like The Knitting Circle and An Italian Wife. Her new novel is a story of friendship, love, loss and secrets that is sure to be a favorite for readers and book clubs. Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood―one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

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