Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, August 21, 2018
From My Shelf
The Writer's Life
Christina Dalcher: When Silence Speaks Volumes
|photo: B Dalcher|
Writing to Fictional Crushes
Quirk Books considers some "fictional characters we'd want to write love letters to."
"How other countries have translated The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’s absurdly long title" is explored by Slate.
From Maus to Tamara Drewe, author Paul Gravett recommended "10 graphic novels everyone should read" for the Guardian.
JSTOR Daily recalled the period "when Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot were penpals."
Mental Floss reveals "16 facts about Christopher Pike's books."
Based on "your perfect night in," Buzzfeed will tell you which "literature lady you are"--a Bennet girl or more Miss Havisham.
In 1818, when Mary Shelley was just 20 years old, the first edition of her novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published anonymously in London. By the time Shelley's name appeared on a second edition in 1823, her work had polarized critics while achieving popular success. In a hint of things to come, Frankenstein was already being adapted into derivative works even during Shelley's lifetime, including a stage play she saw with her father, William Godwin, in 1823. In the 200 years since, Shelley's reanimated creature has become its own pop-culture monster, as much a product of film and TV depictions as the original novel.
Shelley's gothic/romantic/proto-science-fiction work originated in a contest among Mary, her future husband, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron to see who could write the best horror story. With Percy's encouragement, Mary expanded a potential short story inspired by a dream into a canonical work of speculative fiction.
In August 2017, Liveright published The New Annotated Frankenstein ($35, 9780871409492), which includes 200 illustrations, 1,000 contextual notes and an introduction by Guillermo del Toro. The Penguin Classics edition of Frankenstein, published in 2003, includes a scholarly introduction and "A Fragment" by Lord Byron, a predecessor of the modern vampire story created as part of the same writing contest that begot Frankenstein. --Tobias Mutter
Suicide Club: A Novel About Living
by Rachel Heng
Discover: In a near future when life expectancy is extended and optimized, a woman must consider the cost of immortality.
by Samantha Hunt
Discover: Samantha Hunt flips both language and reality on their heads in this slim novel about a young woman troubled by love, death and the sea.
Mystery & Thriller
Some Die Nameless
by Wallace Stroby
Discover: A former mercenary and a jaded reporter team up to uncover the truth about a string of violent crimes connected to a complex, corrupt business empire.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
by Christina Dalcher
Discover: In a chilling dystopia set in the foreseeable future, all American women and girls are restricted to speaking just 100 words each day.
Biography & Memoir
Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon
by Charles Casillo
Discover: Castillo's sympathetic and psychologically nuanced Marilyn Monroe bio is compulsively readable and well researched.
Korea: Where the American Century Began
by Michael Pembroke
Discover: Historian Michael Pembroke's Korea: Where the American Century Began is an essential, relevant look at a mostly forgotten war.
Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present
by Peter Vronsky
Discover: A serial killer expert traces the most egregious murderers back to our earliest ancestors.
Essays & Criticism
Sustainability: A Love Story
by Nicole Walker
Discover: Environmental issues are broken down in human terms in this moving collection of essays.
The Garden Party
by Grace Dane Mazur
Discover: A midsummer rehearsal dinner brings together two families in a charming Massachusetts garden, and each guest harbors a story.
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding... Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
by Sam Anderson
Discover: New York journalist Anderson goes to Oklahoma City to cover the NBA's Thunder and comes away with a much bigger and funnier story of a city always "on the make."
Children's & Young Adult
The Sinking of the Vasa: A Shipwreck of Titanic Proportions
by Russell Freedman, illus. by William Low
Discover: A brief history of one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions--a 17th-century warship--recounted reverently by a Newbery Award-winning writer.
Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
by Amy Reed, editor
Discover: Twenty-one women, largely young adult novelists, use the election of Donald Trump as a springboard for writing essays about the experience of being marginalized.