Feb 28, 2011

RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke

taken from Thirst for Fiction

There is a mirror, in a dusty room of a nearly forgotten house. But it is no ordinary mirror. Behind it lie the lands of the Mirrorworld, a place of danger. Jacob Reckless has been trespassing it’s borders ever since he was a boy, reaping its secrets and its treasures. But then the unthinkable happens. Jacob’s brother, Will, finds the Mirror. And presses his hand against the glass, opening the gateway. And on the otherside, The Dark Fairy waits, ready to strike, ready to infect him with a curse that will turn his skin to Jade. He will become a Goyl, a stone-skinned, and he will serve their King…

Reckless is Cornelia Funke’s first fantasy novel since she completed the Inkworld Trilogy, and it is has certainly been worth the wait. Reckless is Funke doing what she does best; writing magical, romantic, beautiful fantasy novels.

It follows the journey Jacob Reckless undertakes as he tries to free his brother from a curse that will turn him into a Goyle, a stone-skinned being. Set in the Mirrorworld, it is a story full of adventure, romance and despair. Reckless is the story of the love between brothers, lovers and races; of new-found love, anguish and betrayal. READ MORE....

Feb 24, 2011

THE TIGER by John Vailllant

taken from the New York Times by EDWARD LEWINE

The large and malevolent tiger at the center of this nonfiction hunting tale bears a striking resemblance to its fictional seafaring predecessors: the white whale and the movie-star shark (both of which, by the way, are said to have been inspired by real creatures).

The structure of John Vaillant’s book echoes that of “Moby-Dick,” alternating a gripping chase narrative with dense explanations of the culture and ecology surrounding that chase. “Jaws” fans will recognize the dramatic strategy of keeping the beast offstage as much as possible to allow terror to fill in the blanks, as well as a certain lurid detail at the book’s end, which I won’t reveal.

What makes “The Tiger” a grand addition to the animal-­pursuit subgenre is the sensitive way in which Vaillant, a journalist and the author of a previous book, “The Golden Spruce,” that’s in the same murder-in-nature mode, evokes his cat. Few writers have taken such pains to understand their monsters, and few depict them in such arresting prose. READ MORE....

Feb 21, 2011

MADRE by Liza Bakewell

taken from the author's website

Madre is a…marvel. Liza Bakewell brilliantly weaves a story that peels away layers of hidden meanings of the most fraught word of Mexico’s maternal cultura, revealing secrets many natives dare not speak. This is a book that will get tongues wagging. John Phillip Santos, author of The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire

Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun began with some graffiti on a wall: A todo madre o un desmadre. I was in Mexico doing research for my PhD, and although my Spanish, I thought, was fluent, I had never seen that expression before. So I asked what it meant, and I was told that it was not proper for a woman to use those words. Not proper, because madremadre or quĂ© madre or de poca madre” are used in the bar, on the street, and only by men.

Over the years, I developed a long list of Madre expressions, and I found friends to help me translate them. I became intrigued with the way the Mexican speakers shape their language and how language in turn shapes them, their goals, their dreams and their children.

I think of Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun as part memoir, part travelogue and part investigation into a culture and its language. How can me vale madre mean worthless and ¡que padre! mean marvelous? Why does madre mean whore as much as virgin?  Join me as I travel thorough Mexico to investigate the madre phenomenon.

Whether you have lived in another country, are studying to learn another language, speak Spanish as your first language, enjoy learning about other cultures or just enjoy reading about how language affects our lives, I hope you enjoy Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun.
In her illuminating new book, Liza Bakewell…a linguistic anthropologist with sparkling credentials, turns to a single Mexican-Spanish word, "Madre," and discovers controversies and challenges…Beyond the obvious public issues in our headlines, all is not serene in our neighbor's house. Portland Press Herald
One of Bakewell’s goals in writing this book was to 'write to everyone,' and she does that with aplomb. It’s safe to say that most people are fascinated with language in one way or another. San Antonio Express News
 …charming book, a mix of memoir, research and travelogue. The Economist