Friday, August 20, 2010

Top 5 titles foraged from the processing trolleys (20 August 2010)

List by Tosca

Early one morning, after a sandstorm had ripped through north Texas, I wandered into Mr. Tilly's circus. I wore a black suit and blood ran down my face. When some of the carnies came up to me, I said, "I'm numb." This became my name.
- Numb: a novel by Sean Ferrell

I think, sometimes, that when I venture in to the Cataloguing and Acqusitions areas they view my visits with some amount of trepidation. And yet I respect what they do. Wholeheartedly. It is an integral part of the overall service we provide. But I am a contentious, opinionated person who has quite vocal (read *loud*) views on what types of books I believe our customers would want and I consider it my duty - and a pleasurable one at that - to tell all and sundry about it ;) We have some quite 'spirited' discussions about books. So yes, their trepidation is somewhat warranted. I am forever grateful that they have not barred me (yet) and let me wander quite freely among the new books trolleys and oh! What gems I have found today. My cup truly runneth over :)

There is no rhyme or reason to how I choose which books to read - I might like the cover, the author's name, a particular colour, a certain genre might be my pet read that month, the font might seem quirky, the topic might look mildly interesting or even too terrible to read which makes me really want to read get the point. I've tried my best to explain why, among the many, I've selected these ones, but you know, don't blame me if my reasons seem wholly irrational and totally illogical o_O

Honourable mention:
Rise of the poison moon by MaryJanice Davidson & Anthony Alongi - somewhere along the way I stopped reading Davidson's books. I can't remember why, I've just realised, looking at this title, that it happened. And I think I'm sorry about it. The idea that she's collaborated - and with her husband at that - is enough to make me add this to my ever-expanding and never-decreasing TBR (to-be-read) list :)

Numb: a novel / Sean Ferrell
A man with no memory who feels no pain, Numb travels to New York City after a short stint with the circus, following the one and only clue he holds to his hidden history: a brittle, bloodstained business card. But once there, word of his condition rapidly spreads—sparked by the attention he attracts by letting people nail his hands to wooden bars for money—and he quickly finds himself hounded on all sides by those who would use his unique ability in their own pursuits of fame and fortune. It is a strange world indeed that Numb numbly stumbles through, surrounded by crowds of suck-ups and opportunists, as he confronts life's most basic and difficult question: Who am I?

Tosca's note: Umm no reason - I just think it could be interesting. Yes...? Oh! And I liked the subject heading 'congenital insensitivity to pain' because, hey, I've never seen that one before.

Dracula in love: a novel / Karen Essex
London, 1890. Mina Murray, the rosy-cheeked, quintessentially pure Victorian heroine, becomes Count Dracula’s object of desire. To preserve her chastity, five male “defenders” rush in to rescue her from the vampire’s evil clutches. This is the version of the story we've been told. But now, from Mina’s own pen, we discover that the story is vastly different when told from the female point of view. In this captivating, bold act of storytelling, award-winning author Karen Essex breathes startling new life into the characters of Bram Stoker's Dracula, transporting the reader into the erotic and bizarre underbelly of the original story. While loosely following the events of its classic predecessor, Dracula in Love deviates from the path at every turn.

Tosca's note: I count Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' as the first vampire novel I remember making an impact on my tiny mind, and the idea of a retelling from a different character POV (point of view) is intriguing. I do have a query, though: why do writers of fiction novels use the word 'novel' as a subtitle? I don't understand that. Can someone explain it?

The man with the golden touch: how the Bond films conquered the world / Sinclair McKay
This is the story of how, with the odd misstep along the way, the owners of the James Bond franchise, Eon Productions, have contrived to keep James Bond abreast of the zeitgeist and at the top of the charts for 45 years, through 22 films featuring six Bonds, three M's, two Q's and three Moneypennies. Having interviewed people concerned with all aspects of the films, Sinclair McKay is ideally placed to describe how the Bond 'brand' has been managed over the years as well as to give us the inside stories of the supporting cast of Bond girls, Bond villains, Bond cars, and Bond gadgetry.

Tosca's note: I heart Bond! He's horribly misogynistic and chauvinistic and cheesy to the core (not to mention terribly inappropriate for 9 year old girls to be reading but the book was just sitting there and so my lifelong affair with Bond began) but I love love LOVE him in all his horribleness. I cannot help myself. Well, truth be told, I refuse to help myself.

They called themselves the KKK: the birth of an American terrorist group / Susan Campbell Bartoletti
"Boys, let us get up a club." With those words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend's mansion, pulled pillowcases over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee. The six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan, and, all too quickly, their club grew into the self-proclaimed Invisible Empire with secret dens spread across the South. This is the story of how a secret terrorist group took root in America's democracy. Filled with chilling and vivid personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, it is a book to read and remember.

Tosca's note: There's no doubt that the KKK are an interesting part of American history - they're certainly a controversial part, geez. I am always fascinated by how majority cultures treat people and I don't think it's even anything to do with my being Maori. I think it's just general human interest on my part. While in Memphis, Tennessee I visited the National Civil Rights Museum - formerly the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated April 4th 1968 - and was saddened, appalled, angered and laid low by how badly we sometimes treat each other. I remember standing at the viewing window to King's former motel room and silently crying and thinking that sometimes people do atrocious things.

Clementine / Cherie Priest
Maria Isabella Boyd's success as a Confederate spy has made her too famous for further espionage work, and now her employment options are slim. Exiled, widowed, and on the brink of poverty...she reluctantly goes to work for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago. Adding insult to injury, her first big assignment is commissioned by the Union Army. In short, a federally sponsored transport dirigible is being violently pursued across the Rockies and Uncle Sam isn't pleased. The Clementine is carrying a top secret load of military essentials--essentials which must be delivered to Louisville, Kentucky, without delay. Intelligence suggests that the unrelenting pursuer is a runaway slave who's been wanted by authorities on both sides of the Mason-Dixon for fifteen years. In that time, Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey has felonied his way back and forth across the continent, leaving a trail of broken banks, stolen war machines, and illegally distributed weaponry from sea to shining sea. And now it's Maria's job to go get him. He's dangerous quarry and she's a dangerous woman, but when forces conspire against them both, they take a chance and form an alliance. She joins his crew, and he uses her connections. She follows his orders. He takes her advice. And somebody, somewhere, is going to rue the day he crossed either one of them.

Tosca's note: I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVED Priest's steampunk novel 'Boneshaker' and that alone has me impatiently awaiting this book to make its way through cataloguing. Am I perhaps building it up too much? Only a reading will tell.

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