Brain on Fire is one of those books that will be hard for you to put down. This engrossing memoir, by a young New York Post reporter, is about her experience in the grips of a rare autoimmune disease. While the doctors try to figure out what is wrong with her, the author suffers violent seizures, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and eventually near death. Not only is this a gripping story full of suspense, it is also a reflection on the thin line between sanity and insanity, the fragility of our health, and what makes us human. In addition, this book gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of cutting-edge neuroscience.
Set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are young, Feed is a thought-provoking novel that will make you reexamine our present-day consumer society. In this future society, which is dominated by corporations and the media, teens--due to the feeds in their heads and the constant stream to their brains to consume--are empty-headed kids who are driven by shopping and the pursuit of mindless entertainment. However, there is one girl unlike the others who, because of receiving her feed much later than the others, has the will to fight the feed. This is a terrific satire, and a book that you will not forget.
This historical novel, about America's most successful bank robber, is a great read. It is full of suspense, romance, and comedy, and it transported me back to New York City in the early twentieth century during the time of depressions, soaring unemployment, and bank panics. Born in the Irish slums of Brooklyn, Willie Sutton's early years were formed by extreme poverty, abusive older brothers, and distant parents. During his teenage years, Sutton met the love of his life and subsequently began his life of crime. Moehinger, the author of The Tender Bar, is a beautiful writer, and he created a book that transcends its subject and time. Highly recommended.
Well, it’s 2013, amazing as that may seem, and most people are looking ahead to the new year, making their resolutions…and resolving not to break them this time. But before we move forward, let’s take a moment to look back over the last year and remember some of the great novelists and writers who passed away. Though they themselves are gone, here’s to hoping their great works of fiction and nonfiction survive for many years to come!
- Jeffrey Zaslow, February 10
- Maurice Sendak, May 8
- Carlos Fuentes, May 15
- Ray Bradbury, June 5
- Maeve Binchy, July 30
- Gore Vidal, July 31
- Harry Harrison, August 15
2012 has seen a lot of wonderful novels, many of them by well-established authors. But there have also been quite a few break-through successes for brand-new authors. Many of the most popular and well-reviewed books of the year have been debut novels from first-time authors or authors who had only published short stories or memoirs previous to their novelistic success. Here’s hoping the years to come bring more great novels from these rising stars!
Torres, Justin. We the Animals
Klaussmann, Liza. Tigers in Red Weather
Ivey, Eowyn. The Snow Child
Coplin, Amanda. The Orchardist
Harbach, Chad. The Art of Fielding
Rogan, Charlotte. The Lifeboat
Pavone, Chris. The Expats
Stedman, M. L. The Light Between Oceans
Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds
Jonathan Safran Foer, the award-winning, bestselling author of Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and the nonfiction work Eating Animals, is speaking at Spertus on Sunday, January 13, 2013.
Oh, the holidays. That wonderful time of year filled with both joy and, let’s be honest, neuroses. Families get together and old rivalries and grudges come to the fore. Turkeys are burned. Trees fall over. Strings of lights burn out for no readily apparent reason. And everyone gives gifts and smiles and enjoys good food and good cheer. All in all, the holidays make perfect fodder for novels both heart-warming and hilarious. Here are a few titles to tickle your festive funny-bone this season:
Alexander, Carly. The Secret Life of Mrs. Claus
Davidson, MaryJanice. Undead and Unfinished
Evanovich, Janet. Visions of Sugar Plums
Friedman, Kinky. The Christmas Pig
Hornby, Nick. A Long Way Down
Moore, Christopher. The Stupidest Angel
Mortimer, John. A Rumpole Christmas
Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice
Shepherd, Jean. In God We Trust; All Others Pay Cash
Willig, Lauren. The Mischief of the Mistletoe
Psychological thrillers are fast-paced books that focus on the unstable emotional states of characters. The suspense in psychological thrillers often comes from two or more characters preying upon one another's minds, either by playing deceptive games with the other or by merely trying to demolish the other's mental state.
Some examples of psychological thrillers are:
Asylum by Patrick McGrath
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
The Collector by John Fowles
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
If you like this genre, a Readers' Advisor can help you find more books like these. If this genre is new to you, you might want to give it a try. Some of the best literature can be catergorized as psychological thrillers; Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is an example.
This graphic novel adaptation is a must-read for any fan of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Kuper's scratchboard illustrations brilliantly express Kafka's sense of nightmarish unreality. While the text is spare, Kuper's graphic novel is nonetheless a faithful rendition rather than an illustrated abridgment, and the visuals are eloquent and impactful.