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Fall books guide

10/5/2016

There are few things more comforting than wrapping your body in a blanket and ensconcing your mind in literary bliss during a cool fall evening on the couch with a good book. You know the feeling. You’ve had it many times, as have millions of others. The feel, the scent, the beauty of a book. Yes, Cityview readers (and we do realize we’re preaching to the choir here), amidst the shouts of “Digital this!” and “Digital that!”, print is still very much alive and well on all fronts. And that means books, too.

If you don’t believe our claim, that’s fine — but numbers do not lie. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in the spring of 2016, it was found that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months (73 percent) remained virtually unchanged from four years ago. That’s right — four years ago. In our rapidly-evolving society, a lot has changed in our world in four years — except the love for a good book.

So, with that in mind, we once again present to you our annual fall books review, written by the good folks at Beaverdale Books, who we thank profusely for their continued great work. In this piece, you’ll find reviews of books touching a myriad of topics ranging from mysteries to cooking to fantasy — a veritable cornucopia-like selection, perfect for all that is fall. We enjoyed reading about a handful of the best books available right now, and we hope you will, too. Enjoy!

 

‘IQ’

HIV

By Joe Ideiq-by-joe-ide

 

“IQ” is a remarkable debut by Joe Ide that is a beautiful combination of Sherlock Holmes and “The Wire.” It takes place in East Long Beach, California. The main character, Isaiah Quintabe, was an advanced student before his brother’s death caused him to drop out. He becomes a thief to pay the bills, but after a series of mishaps, he becomes a private eye. Cal, a rap mogul, has hired Isaiah to track down the person hired to kill him. As seems to be the case when you’re a private eye, Isaiah ends up uncovering more than he bargained for. The story jumps from 2013 — when Isaiah is working for Cal — to 2005. The flashbacks provide backstory to how Isaiah came to be a private eye, and how he met his partner, Dodson. This enthralling novel was a joy to read, and I am eager to see what is in store for IQ.

Reviewed by Hunter Gillum

‘IQ’

By Joe Ide

Mulholland Books

Publish date: Oct. 18, 2016

$26

336 pages

 

‘Riverine’

By Angela Palmriverine-by-angela-palm

 

I could not put down “Riverine” by Angela Palm, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t read many memoirs. The book is about growing up in DeMotte, a small town in rural Indiana bordering on the Kankakee River. Being so close to the river, her home is prone to flooding — so much so that it has become a part of life. Growing up, Palm had a crush on her next door neighbor Corey, who would eventually receive a life sentence for murder. Palm beautifully writes about how someone she loved could do something so wrong. The book is about much more than that, though. Palm eventually leaves DeMotte, first for Indianapolis and then to Vermont where she settles down with her husband. “Riverine” is about how strong the pull of home is. Going home for Angela is hard, because it forces her to confront her feelings about Corey. This book is excellent, and the writing is exquisite.

Reviewed by Hunter Gillum

‘Riverine’

By Angela Palm

Graywolf

Publish date: Sept. 16, 2016

224 pages

 

 

‘March, Book One’

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powellmarch-book-one-by-john-lewis-andrew-aydin-and-nate-powell

 

It is said that no one should see how sausage or laws are made. True as that old chestnut may be, the building of iconic lawmaker Congressman John Lewis and the recipe for arguably the most important social justice movement of the 20th century is both fascinating and deeply moving. “March, Book One”  is the first in a three-volume series of graphic novels recounting Lewis’ amazing life. From meeting Martin Luther King Jr. to orchestrating sit-ins at lunch counters all the way up to Capitol Hill, it is an astonishing start to the journey. “March, Book One” is a remarkable book, both in fact (the artwork is simply gorgeous) and in truth (Rural Alabama life for young black men in the mid-20th century seems to be almost another planet, let alone our own country a mere 60 years ago.) This is a powerful story, but certainly not an easy one. For that reason and so many more — both historical and current — this graphic novel is a must-read.

Reviewed by Julie Goodrich

March, Book One’

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

Top Shelf Productions

Publish date: Sept. 6, 2016

$14.95

128 pages

 

 

‘The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers’

By Loren Bouchard and Cole Bowdenthe-bobs-burgers-burger-book-real-recipes-for-joke-burgers-by-loren-bouchard-and-cole-bowden

 

“Bob’s Burgers” has spontaneous songs, awkward characters and a huge heart. Weird, sweet and achingly hilarious, the show follows the Belcher family members as they run a barely-successful burger joint. Among all the wacky, sweaty and bizarre adventures, there is a glorious background joke in every episode — the specials on the “Burger of the Day” chalkboard.

The long-running joke is so ubiquitous that Cole Bowden made a website just to create these amazingly ridiculous burgers. With names such as “Eggers Can’t Be Cheesers” and “Bleu By You”, how could anyone resist the temptation? Loren Bouchard, with the help of the show writers, worked with Bowden to create this best-selling cookbook, covering all the best burgers (“Free to Brie You and Me”, “Shake Your Honey-Maker”) with the signature wit and heart from the show. This is required reading for any fan or anyone with a penchant for experimentation in the kitchen — particularly those who love puns.

Reviewed by Julie Goodrich

‘The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers’

By Loren Bouchard and Cole Bowden

Universe Publishing

Publish date: March 22, 2016

$19.95

126 pages

 

 

 

‘The Aeronaut’s Windlass’

By Jim Butcherthe-aeronauts-windlass-by-jim-butcher

 

Wild adventure, incredible world-building and that signature Jim Butcher wit — “The Aeronaut’s Windlass” is everything you could hope for in a steampunk fantasy book. Butcher made his name in the genre fiction world with the hardboiled wizard, Harry Dresden, and a magical version of our own modern world. This time he gives us a coterie of smart characters to fall in love with in a completely foreign, extraordinary setting.

Captain Grimm has gone from a noble officer in the Navy to a pirate under shady circumstances. Not about to roll over, he follows his own code of honor to protect his people, which improbably lands him in even shadier circumstances. Unwilling to give up the ship he adores and his life in the skies, he risks everything to help a ragtag band of young recruits, insane magicians and an unusual cat save their ways of life. It’s an impossible mission in midst of war, and Butcher never slows down the action. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Reviewed by Julie Goodrich

‘The Aeronaut’s Windlass’

By Jim Butcher

Roc

Publish date: June 5, 2016

$9.99

751 pages

 

 

‘Commonwealth’

By Ann Patchettcommonwealth-by-ann-patchett

 

Patchett’s engaging new novel opens in the 1960s in California at infant Fanny’s christening party. Fanny’s mother, Beverly, kisses Bert, her husband’s coworker. This sets into motion the eventual rupture of both families. Beverly divorces her husband, marries Bert, and they move to Virginia with her two children. Bert’s four children stay with his ex-wife in California.

Patchett follows these two families through the suburbs over the course of about five decades, showing the interactions that occur as their lives merge. The children — forced into a new family and shuttled between the two states — are unhappy and resentful of the situation and are left mainly unsupervised by their distracted, harried parents.

As the children grow older, Patchett highlights Fanny, who shares the story of her family to her lover, a successful older novelist. Leo encapsulates her stories into a bestselling novel, revealing the family’s secrets and exposing their privacy. The family is then confronted with revisiting the uncomfortableness of their past.

With spare language, flawed, believable characters and subtle scenes, Patchett expertly delivers an insightful, heart-wrenching family portrait.

Reviewed by Fay Jones

‘Commonwealth’

By Ann Patchett

Harper

Publish date: Sept. 13, 2016

$27.99

336 pages

 

‘A Great Reckoning’ 

By Louise Pennya-great-reckoning-by-louise-penny

 

The 12th novel in the Inspector Gamache series opens with Gamache selecting cadets for admission to the Sûreté Academy. He will be taking over as commander there after his near-death experience while he was ridding the Sûreté du Quebec of corruption. He knows that the Academy has also been corrupted, and he is determined to root it out.

Set in Quebec, the story starts to unfold in the beautiful small village of Three Pines, where Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache live. An intricate map discovered in the walls of the local bistro plays an important part in the resolution of the evolving mystery. The murder of a corrupted professor at the academy casts suspicion on other professors, the cadets and even Gamache himself. The discovery of a copy of the map in the murdered professor’s room is a clue or a red herring. By the end of the story, Gamache and four of the cadets have discovered the murderer and solved the puzzle of the map. It is a wonderful read.

Reviewed by Harriet Leitch

‘A Great Reckoning’

By Louise Penny

Minotaur Books

Publish date: Sept. 30, 2016

$28.99

400 pages

 

 

‘Before the Feast’

By Sasa Stanisicbefore-the-feast-by-sasa-stanisic

 

Finally — a second novel from Sasa Stanisic to follow his award-winning debut, “How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone.” This time the Bosnia- and Herzegovina-born author takes us to the village of Fürstenfelde, where it is the eve of the big feast. Beginning with the dead ferryman, he introduces us to a cast of characters as odd and universal as you would find anywhere — the bell ringer and his apprentice, the pensioner who must moonlight, the pig farmer, the painter, the tavern owner (really a garage) and more, each with his own quirky way of dealing with life.

The novel is character-driven and takes us back and forth between the villagers and centuries of local history — stories that have been passed down and are somewhat questionable. Even the village itself has a voice. Eventually the reader sees how all the stories are connected, just as the community is knit together despite differences and the fate of being thrown together.  Stanisic’s clever language and unique style showcase humanity at its best and its worst.

Reviewed by Alice Meyer

‘Before the Feast’

By Sasa Stanisic

Tin House Books

Publish date: June 14, 2016

$15.95

316 pages

 

 

 

‘French Rhapsody’

By Antoine Laurainfrench-rhapsody-by-antoine-laurain

 

Imagine the post office delivering a letter 33 years late and finding out that the rock group you played in as a young man had drawn the attention of a recording studio. We meet Alain Massoulier in a windowless room in the post office, being offered a form letter apology for his trouble.

Thus begins his midlife crisis of sorts — the road he never got to travel. Massoulier had long ago discarded the demo tape, and that becomes the impetus for tracking down his former band mates, who have all gone their separate ways. We learn the back story of the band, and the novel becomes a tale of how people with so much in common in the past would not necessarily be friends later in life.

With a bit of nostalgia and a hearty dose of Massoulier’s self-deprecation and hypochondria, Laurain relates the story with honesty, affection and humor.

Reviewed by Alice Meyer

‘French Rhapsody’

By Antoine Laurain

Gallic Books

Publish date: Oct. 11, 2016

$14.95

232 pages

 

 

 

‘Generation Chef’

By Karen Stabinergeneration-chef-by-karen-stabiner

 

Reality restaurant shows and cooking competitions have showcased the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the business, and if you are intrigued by the behind-the-scenes action, you’ll enjoy “Generation Chef.”

It is the story of 26-year-old Jonah Miller, who is opening his Basque-inspired restaurant, Huertas, in New York City. Having been in the business already for half his life (starting as a volunteer prepping garlic and onions), we accompany him as he secures investors and financing, searches for a perfect location, navigates the buildout and equipment purchases, staffing and menu planning. We’re with him for the highlights of opening night and the mistakes, such as when one couple was left waiting at the bar too long for their reservation.

It’s a cutthroat business where even a comment on social media can make or break you, and diners’ preferences for the latest food trend can change in an instant. Journalist and food writer Stabiner weaves in backstory to include notable chefs and restaurants that influenced Jonah, and the result is a satisfying read. ♦

Reviewed by Alice Meyer

‘Generation Chef’

By Karen Stabiner

Avery Publishing Group

Publish date: Sept. 13, 2016

$26

320 pages

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