Dave N.'s Picks
David moonlights here. His day job is as an amazingly cool teacher of English. He is the reigning spelling bee champ.
SEPTEMBER 2019In terms of the art of writing fiction, it's one of the most well crafted novels I've ever read!A very personal exploration of gender identity and expression, framed by a story that explores the richness of experiences immigrants have coming to the United States, from their escape from Greece to their Americanization, both voluntary and forced. Narrator Cal Stephanides is intersex -- a male with certain female traits -- and weaves the story of generations of his family throughout the story of how he came to understand himself. Thanks for the rec, Kate!
The first book in an historical fantasy trilogy inspired by Mongol history, Rivera's The Tiger's Daughter challenges many of the traditional motifs of fantasy literature, while remaining a solid entry into the genre of epic historical fantasy and adventure. Told through letters between women adventurers, explores and develops the relationships between these women, including love, while further engaging them in a struggle against a truly insidious evil. As much a love story as an epic fantasy, find out how "even gods can be slain".
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett teamed up for Good Omens, published in 1990, and now a streaming, episodic "dramedy". Gaiman's first solo novel, however, was Neverwhere, published in 1996, and considered today to be an urban fantasy classic. It is a part of NPR's Great American Reads, their list of the 100 most loved books. Set in a world with a London Above and a London Below, where residents of one are unaware of the others, this dark urban fantasy plays on how identity is shaped by a place, especially the place we choose rather than the one we are habituated to occupy.
MAY 2019Winner of the Pulitzer prize, 2001.Chabon's story begins in 1939 with tale of a Houdini-inspired young escape artist who has come from Nazi Germany to take up lodging in Brooklyn with his cousin, an aspiring artist with an interest in comic books, the new pop culture phenomenon for teenagers in America, The story spans several years in the careers and lives of these American dreamers.-Note: I'm currently reading this again for a book club selection! Let me know what you think!
The first book of the Marseilles Trilogy, Total Chaos is an outstanding entry into the genre of Mediterranean Noir. American Noir featured stone cold detectives, flatfooted police, a damsel in distress, a pistol in a pocket, and often, some mysterious object or secret motivation that spurned on the crime and the criminologist. In Total Chaos, and in the Mediterranean Noir in general, the novel is set against a backdrop of political and social upheaval. Personal relationships complicate... well, everything. You don't want me to say more. This book is followed by Chourmo.