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by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book list In Ishiguro's first novel since 2006 (Never Let Me Go), the award-winning author reinvents himself once again. It is a fable-like story about an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who reside in a village that is made up of underground warrens and is sometimes menaced by ogres. One day they get it into their heads to track down their son, who vanished years ago, although they cannot remember exactly why. In fact, their whole village seems to be struggling with memory loss, with residents forgetting from one day to the next key incidents and people from their pasts. Despite their advanced years and their many aches and pains, Axl and Beatrice set out on a perilous journey, encountering along the way a smooth-talking boatman, a wailing widow, and, most momentously, an ancient, garrulous knight and an intrepid warrior. Ishiguro's story is a deceptively simple one, for enfolded within its elemental structure are many profound truths, including its beautiful and memorable portrait of a long-term marriage and its subtle commentary on the eternity of war, all conveyed in the author's mesmerizing prose. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Two of Ishiguro's novels, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, have more than a million copies in print and were adapted into acclaimed films; pent-up demand will fuel requests for his latest work.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Ishiguro's new novel is set in Arthurian England-not the mythic land of knights, castles, and pageants most of us are familiar with, but a primitive and rural country likely far closer to historical reality. This is a gray and superstitious place, rather than a battlefield alive with the color and movement of steeds and fluttering banners; it's sparsely inhabited and scarcely advanced. Candles are preciously hoarded, and simple folk cluster together for safety amid vast stretches of untamed and fear-inspiring wilderness. The grim-textured, circa-sixth-century landscape is also a country haunted by magic, where ogres loom in the dark and steal children, and dragons are hunted by faded warriors like Sir Gawain. But its magic remains in the background, an earthy fact of life rather than a dazzle of sparkling make believe. Here British peasants eke out a hardscrabble existence from caves dug into hillsides, while the recent Saxon invaders live in more-advanced villages of rudimentary huts. A strange fog hovers over the dreary countryside-where an uneasy peace has balanced on a knife edge since the end of the most recent wars-robbing the populace of its memories. Into this countryside our protagonists-an elderly, ailing British couple named Axl and Beatrice-embark on a pilgrimage to the village of their half-forgotten son. It's a sad, elegiac story, one that has a tone and texture suited to its subject matter: a dreamy journey, repetitive and searching as lost memory. Conversations are formal and stilted, but their carefully crafted formality lends an austere rigor to the proceedings-Axl and Beatrice are following a gentle old-people's quest, not a dashing young knight's. Although they do cover literal ground and encounter figures of myth and legend along the way, their real search is clearly interior, a painstaking effort to know themselves and each other by piecing together the vestiges of their past. Memory is inseparable from personhood, in Beatrice's view, and personhood must be known for love to be authentic. Though she and Axl seem devoted to each other ("Princess," he calls her insistently, though she's manifestly anything but), she believes that their devotion, in the absence of memory, may prove insufficient to keep them together when they die. Her guiding fear is that the couple will be separated in the afterlife-on the "island," as the world of the dead is represented here-if they can't show the Charon-like boatman tasked with rowing them over that they know each other, and love each other, well enough to be granted the rare privilege of crossing that last water together rather than alone. The gift of remembering, as it turns out, will come at a steep price, not for the two aging and kindhearted Britons but for their country. The Buried Giant is a slow, patient novel, decidedly unshowy but deliberate and precise-easy to read but difficult to forget. Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Imagine an existence without memory. Lacking context, would war become obsolete? Or family strife? This is the concept introduced in Ishiguro's latest, which appears ten years after his acclaimed Never Let Me Go. Set in first-century England, this parable revolves around Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple tired of living in the dark. Fleeting memories haunt them but disappear with the morning mist. Did they once have a son? When did he leave? Why? They set out on a journey looking for answers but, as befitting a quest novel, obstacles abound. Axl and Beatrice are plagued by ogres and pixies, joined by a Saxon warrior and an errant knight from Arthur's court, and have their lifelong devotion to each other tested in disturbing ways. Though the book is wildly different in setting and style from the author's previous fiction, fans will recognize familiar themes, including the elusiveness of memory and the slow fading of love. Alas, Ishiguro's reliance on a tedious, repetitive back-and-forth conversation between the couple detracts from the story. VERDICT Ishiguro's career spans over 30 years, highlighted by Booker winner The Remains of the Day and Whitbread winner An Artist of the Floating World, yet this quasifantasy falls short as the medium to deliver the author's lofty message. [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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by John Grisham

Library Journal Growing up in Arkansas, Grisham dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Now, in his 28th novel, this superb storyteller takes his turn at bat in this memorable story of forgiveness and redemption. In the 1973 season, Warren Tracey, an over-the-hill pitcher from the New York Mets, tangles with Joe Castle, a hot new Chicago Cubs rookie from Calico Rock, AR-halting both their careers. Before their confrontation, Joe had demonstrated his stunning skills and earned the admiration of fans nationwide, including Warren's young son. As a little leaguer, Paul Tracey had idolized Joe and tolerated his own philandering father. Thirty years later, Paul challenges Warren, now cancer-ridden, to seek Joe's forgiveness. Verdict Incorporating the jargon and depicting the rituals of America's favorite pastime, Grisham has written a classic story filled with human emotion. General readers, together with Grisham fans, will appreciate this touching tale.-Jerry P. Miller., Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list A major change of pace from megaseller Grisham. Joe Castle, from Calico Rock, Arkansas, took the baseball world by storm in 1973. He homered in his first three major league at bats for the Chicago Cubs. Two months later, he was still hitting more than .500. Then, in his next at bat after homering off Warren Tracey, a surly journeyman pitcher, Tracey drilled a fastball at Joe's head. The damage was severe. Joe's right eye socket was destroyed, and he never played again, retreating back to Calico Rock, far from the public eye. Tracey soon retired from the Mets and drifted into booze and a succession of ex-wives. Thirty years later, Tracey's estranged son, Paul, on learning of his father's impending death from cancer, tries to bring Warren Tracey and Joe Castle together. His motive? Closure. But perhaps, more than anything, Paul needs to see his father do one decent thing in a life filled with regrets and bad behavior. Grisham, of course, is known for his courtroom thrillers but has long harbored a desire to write a baseball novel. Inspired by the real-life story of Yankee pitcher Carl Mays, whose fastball struck and killed Cleveland shortstop Roy Chapman in 1920, Grisham tells his own version of a hit-batsman tragedy, but Paul, the narrator, is curiously deadpan given the highly charged emotions at play. The end result is a solid baseball story but one that never delivers the emotional payoff readers will expect. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The name Grisham and a 1,000,000-copy first printing say it all.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Stephen Greenblatt.

Choice Adopting the conceit of the "swerve" as the fulcrum of this work, Greenblatt (Harvard) presents a narrative study of Poggio Bracciolini's discovery in 1417 of Lucretius's lost poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). He provides an engaging synthesis of Christianity's tactical obliteration of Epicureanism and the concomitant consignment to oblivion of the poetic elucidation (i.e., works like Lucretius's) of atomic and hedonistic fundamentals the Christian world-view deemed so antithetical. Artfully woven in are erudite delineations of the arcana of medieval book production, the mores of life in a monastic scriptorium, the intrigues of 15th-century papal politics, and the considerable perils of theological heterodoxy. By fortuitous chance, a manuscript of the lost De rerum natura was discovered in one dramatic moment of instantaneous recognition by Poggio, one of the greatest of the humanist bibliomaniacs. Adducing this as the "swerve," Greenblatt causally connects this recovery of Lucretius to the unleashing of the forces of scientific inquiry and aesthetic humanism that characterize the Renaissance and thus inform the substratum of modernity--hence the subtitle. Provocative, stimulating, and certain to catalyze scholarly debate, this elegant book deserves a wide readership. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. J. S. Louzonis St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list Literary scholar Greenblatt focuses on Lucretius, ancient Roman author of the brilliant and beautiful didactic poem On the Nature of Things, which challenged the authority of religion, and papal counselor and book hunter Poggio Bracciolini, whose recovery of a copy of the subversive text a millennium and a half later added momentum to the Renaissance and shaped the world we call modern. Lucretius, Greenblatt reminds, was a radical figure very much ahead of his time. Many of his insights for example, that everything is made of invisible particles of matter that are constantly in motion have been borne out by modern science. Others, such as the idea that religions are defined by cruelty and superstition, remain hotly controversial to this day. Vatican humanist Bracciolini, about whom we know quite a bit more, if not quite enough, may in the end be the more interesting personality. He knew what he had found, but did he know what it meant? Do we? A fascinating, intelligent look at what may well be the most historically resonant book-hunt of all time.--Driscoll, Brenda. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this gloriously learned page-turner, both biography and intellectual history, Harvard Shakespearean scholar Greenblatt (Will in the World) turns his attention to the front end of the Renaissance as the origin of Western culture's foundation: the free questioning of truth. It hinges on the recovery of an ancient philosophical Latin text that had been neglected for a thousand years. In the winter of 1417 Italian oddball humanist, smutty humorist, and apostolic secretary Poggio Bracciolini stumbled on Lucretius' De rerum natura. In an obscure monastery in southern Germany lay the recovery of a philosophy free of superstition and dogma. Lucretius' "On the Nature of Things" harked back to the mostly lost works of Greek philosophers known as atomists. Lucretius himself was essentially an Epicurean who saw the restrained seeking of pleasure as the highest good. Poggio's chance finding lay what Greenblatt, following Lucretius himself, terms a historic swerve of massive proportions, propagated by such seminal and often heretical truth tellers as Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno, and Montaigne. We even learn the history of the bookworm-a real entity and one of the enemies of ancient written-cultural transmission. Nearly 70 pages of notes and bibliography do nothing to spoil the fun of Greenblatt's marvelous tale. 16 pages of color illus. (Sept. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In this outstandingly constructed assessment of the birth of philosophical modernity, renowned Shakespeare scholar Greenblatt (Cogan University Professor of English & American Literature & Language, Harvard; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare) deftly transports readers to the dawn of the Renaissance, when in 1417 bibliophile Poggio Bracciolini uncovered the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus's Epicurean work, On the Nature of Things, in the dusty confines of a German monastery. After lying dormant for centuries, Lucretius's "atomist" philosophy reemerged, promoting the joys of this world over the punishments and rewards of the next, gradually conquering humanist circles and influencing such luminaries as More, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Newton. At the heart of Lucretius's Latin verse lies the core argument that by understanding the world around us, abandoning superstitious delusions, and coming to grips with humanity's insignificance, we begin to take ownership of our lives and set out on the pursuit of happiness. VERDICT Greenblatt's masterful account transcends Poggio's significant discovery to encompass a diversity of topics including the Roman book trade, Renaissance Florence, and the Catholic Church's attempts to deal with heresy and schism. Students and general readers from across the humanities will find this enthralling account irresistible. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/11.]-Brian Odom Pelham P.L., AL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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by DeStefano, Lauren

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In the near future, genetic engineering has given a single generation freedom from all physical ills and a long life, but something claims the lives of successive generations as women reach 20 and men reach 25. Many of the first generation and their offspring are fabulously wealthy, but the rest of the population struggles for a living. Rhine Ellery is 16 when she is kidnapped from Manhattan and selected as a bride for Linden Ashby, along with 18-year-old Jenna and 13-year-old Cecily. Jenna seems to be resigned to her existence and naive Cecily is delighted by her situation, but Rhine is determined to escape from her "husband" and his mansion in Florida to return north to her twin brother, Rowan. She finds an ally and love interest in Gabriel, a servant who is as much a prisoner as Rhine. Linden's father, Vaughn, is the true power in the house, controlling his son through disinformation and the "brides" through fear and lies. Vaughn conducts research in the mansion's basement, searching for a cure, but Rhine and Jenna suspect something sinister behind his supposed altruism. As time goes by, Rhine begins to soften toward Linden, who proves to be gentle and artistic, but her determination to escape never wavers. She proves herself to be a heroine who faces her situation with spirit and cleverness. The trapped bride and mysterious husband are straight out of Gothic romances. By stirring in elements of sheer creepiness with dystopia and the hot topic of polygamy, DeStafano creates a story that should have broad appeal.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden's manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine's poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano's evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Opening the Chemical Garden trilogy, DeStefano's harrowing debut initially comes across as The Handmaid's Tale for YA readers. DeStefano, however, forgoes larger social analysis to depict the personal impact of a dystopian future on Rhine and Gabriel, teenagers with a handful of years to live. Science gave 21st-century America one generation of perfect babies; since then, war has destroyed the other continents, and a virus that kills girls by 20 and boys by 25 has ravaged subsequent generations. Healthy teenage girls are prized as breeding stock, and Rhine is kidnapped and forced into a polygamous marriage with the wealthy Linden Ashby, in whose palatial Florida home Gabriel is a servant. Pampered but imprisoned, Rhine only wants to get back to her twin brother, Rowan, in gritty Manhattan. And as Gabriel's furtive relationship with Rhine grows, he begins to share her dream of escape. DeStefano has an observant and occasionally pitiless eye, chronicling the cruelties, mercies, and inconsistencies of her young characters. The larger world is less precisely realized; it will be intriguing to see how DeStefano develops it as this promising trilogy progresses. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In the near future, genetic engineering has given one generation long life, but successive generations die as women reach age 20 and men reach 25. Sixteen-year-old Rhine is kidnapped to be a bride for wealthy Linden Ashby, but she is determined to escape from her "husband" and his sinister father. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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