February 25, 2011

New to the Reading List: 25 February 2011

(Every week I add new titles to CCLaP's ever-growing "to-read" list, mostly through the free library monitoring service Wowbrary.com; and now thanks to a reader's suggestion, I share that list of new additions each week here at the blog as well, including brief descriptions of why I added them to my list. For the entire reading list including its hundreds and hundreds of titles, visit either CCLaP's Goodreads.com profile or its Amazon wish list.)

Mr. Toppit

Mr. Toppit, by Charles Elton

The first novel of a long-time Young Adult literary agent and television producer, this is supposedly a dark comedy about an unsuccessful British children's author, the American who randomly meets him one day in the 1950s and wants to make him a star, and what happens when that finally occurs fifty years later, leaving his heirs to wrestle with greedy Hollywood merchandising executives and the like. At least, that's what the dust-jacket copy makes it sound like.

Empire of Liberty

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, by Gordon S. Wood

Most American History classes start with the revolution of the 1770s, then skip straight to the War of 1812; but this mammoth 800-page book (and newest volume in the revered Oxford History of the United States) promises to tell us in full detail what happened in the years between these events, including the formation of the nation's first political parties, and the beginning of the schism between industrialism and agriculture that would eventually blossom in another fifty years into the Civil War.

Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa, by Amber Dawn

Described by one online reviewer as "if Kathy Acker decided to try out some magical realism," this is an out-and-out transgressive fairytale that supposedly plays heavily on sexuality, gender and identity. I specifically added it to my list because Daniel Casey at "Gently Read Literature" asked me to review it.

The Clockwork Universe

The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society and the Birth of the Modern World, by Edward Dolnick

This looks to be an "NPR-worthy" examination of the events that led to Britain's Royal Society in the 1600s, essentially one of the first scientific organizations in the history of the human race, and the group that gave us such things as time zones. It was smart of the publisher, I think, to have the cover mimic the look of Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle," his fictional and steampunkish take on these same events.

Drinking at the Movies

Drinking at the Movies, by Julia Wertz

I've been a fan for a long time now of Julia Wertz's filthy, funny, confessional web comic "Fart Party;" and now here's her first project designed specifically for book format, a look at a tumultuous year in her life that saw her move from San Francisco to New York. I'm reading this right now in five-page installments every time I'm in the bathroom, which is really the only way to properly do it.

By Nightfall

By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham

The latest by the Pulitzer-winning author of The Hours, and the first book of his I've actually read, it's about a vaguely dissatisfied middle-aged bohemian-bourgeoise Manhattanite, whose life decisions reach a crisis upon the arrival of his trainwrecky twentysomething brother-in-law. Of course they do.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:49 AM, February 25, 2011. Filed under: Arts news | CCLaP news | Literature |