Book Review: The Book of Strange New Things

bookofstrangenewthings-ukThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Book Of Strange New Things is about Peter Leigh, a former junkie who finds Jesus one night thanks to two broken ankles and a trip to the hospital where he meets his wife-to-be Bea. Peter becomes a Christian minister in England with a little church and as the story opens, we find Peter leaving the small church to go to a far-away planet to spread the gospel to the natives there.  He has been selected as a missionary by USIC, a corporation building a settlement on the planet.  Bea, his wife, has not been selected and will be staying behind.  We find Peter and Bea on the way to the airport pulling over to have sex one final time before they are separated for an unspecified time period.  This normally would turn me off, since I have a personal aversion to gratuitous sex, but it is anything but that as the story goes on.

After a trip to the US and boarding the spaceship, Peter awakes to find himself arriving on Oasis and here the beauty of Faber’s writing shines through.  The reader can very nearly imagine himself there or at the very least Peter there.  The entire selection process, trip to Oasis, description of the planet could not have been more beautifully written for the early 21st century reader.  It is something we would be familiar with, yet at the same time alien.  Faber’s descriptions of Peter’s ministry treat his faith with care and show what it means to care for others more than yourself, as Peter so often does in this book.

Faber’s novel treats Peter’s Christian faith with respect, as Father Peter treats others with respect and you can understand the love and care Peter feels for his Jesus Lovers.  The Book of Strange New Things is a masterpiece work of science fiction, but it does not read like science fiction.  It reads like literature and I felt sadness when the book ended.  I just wanted to know more…

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (June 30, 2015), 528 pages, ISBN-10: 0553418866.

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Advice on Shopping for Books

Crystal Paul has written a great post on Bustle entitled “13 thoughts everyone has when trying to narrow down her pile at a bookstore.”  The memes with this post are a must see for booklovers and if  you are like me and still prefer a paperbook to an ebook, then this post is a must read.

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Book Review: The Expats

ExpatsThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Last March, I wrote a post lamenting that most thrillers just weren’t thrilling anymore.  I wrote that they seemed formulaic and that there was too much action and not enough story.  This usually leaves me skipping large sections, just to get past the action and on with the story.  Well, I have to say I have found the best thriller I’ve read in a long time.  I could hardly put it down.

The Expats has been out since 2012, but I just picked it up for the first time last week.  The story revolves around Kate (not Katherine) Moore, an ex-CIA agent living as an expat in Luxembourg and Paris (the story shifts around place and time wise, so be ready for this).  Kate is adjusting to her new life as an expat, a life that is much different that her life as a working mother in the Washington, D.C. area.  Her life is filled with play dates and coffee with the other mothers, leaving far too much time to observe others.  When she meets Bill and Julia, another expat couple in Luxembourg, she begins to suspect they are something other than the usual expat couple.  Not just a former interior designer and her highly-skilled businessman husband.  Soon her extra time leads her to suspect that her own husband, mild-mannered Dexter, may be someone else as well.

If you haven’t read The Expats, you have to put it on our summer reading list right away.  It kept me on the edge of my seat and I found it surprising easily to give up television (and this does seem to be almost a golden age of television) and the Internet to stay immersed in Kate’s European world of mystery and adventure.  Now, on to Chris Pavone’s newest book The Accident.  The reviews don’t seem to be quiet as good as The Expats, but I’ll just find out for myself.  I can’t wait to get started…

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Details:  Published by Broadway Books (January 2, 2013), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-0770435721.

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Book Trailer: Dogs on Cape Cod

Recently I lost my dog Honey after ten years.  She was a rescue and my best friend.  This book trailer gave me some joy this morning.  I like to think of Honey in heaven and it looks much like what these dogs are experiencing on Cape Cod:

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Dogs of Cape Cod will go to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster shelter.

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The World’s Capital of Bookstores

Debora Rey of Associated Press reports that Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other major city in the world.  This is according to a recent study by the World Cities Cultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture. With a population of 2.8 million people within the city limits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, putting Buenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22 bookstores per 100,000 people.

You can read more at :

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

StrangeThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Recently I wrote a post about Wolf Hall’s adaptation for television.  Four episodes of the six planned have aired on PBS and it has been a treat.  I must say that the ideal way to enjoy Wolf Hall is to read the novel and then watch the program.  The television production has been true to Hillary Mantel’s work.

There is another must watch television adaptation coming this summer and I can’t wait.  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2005, was a Guardian First Book Award Nominee in 2004, etc.  In my humble opinion the book is deserving of every award it won and were I to compile a Top Ten list, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell might very well end up on the list.

The story follows the two title characters, who are practitioners of magic living in England in the early 1800s. Mr. Norrell is retiring and careful, while Jonathan Strange is a larger than life figure who is taken on as a student by Mr. Norrell.

Former Monitor critic Ron Charles called the book “altogether original – far closer to Dickens than Rowling … a thoroughly enchanting story…. Mr. Norrell is a wonderfully odd character in what’s practically an encyclopedia of wonderfully odd characters…. [it’s a] marvelous historical novel, told with a dry wit that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen.”

You can watch the launch trailer below and you can watch the seven-part television series based Susanna Clarke’s novel this summer on BBC America.


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Novels you can read in one sitting

Business Insiderpafko has posted an article on twenty novels you can read in one sitting.  Among the the titles listed are several classics and some by authors I’ve never heard of.  Check out the list and add some books to your summer reading list!

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