The Hatching Trilogy
Simon & Schuster
Flesh-eating spiders that can reduce your entire family to a pile of bones in mere minutes? Yes, please! If you haven’t read The Hatching, Skitter, and Zero Day—a/k/a, the Hatching trilogy—you’re missing out. Ezekiel Boone delivers a fast, fun ride that’s full of carnivorous eight-legged killers and an impressive array of characters—regrettably, some of whom do end up as spider food. The miniature monsters emerge almost simultaneously across the globe, and the mayhem unfolds from multiple points of view. One of the main players is U.S. President Stephanie Pilgrim, who must somehow find a way to save America without completely destroying it.
This is a must-read for horror fans, especially those who have ever wondered how effective nuclear bombs would be against invading arachnids. Here’s your chance to find out.
– Alita Feek
Lincoln in the Bardo
Random House (Paperback)
By far one of the strangest books I have ever read, Lincoln in the Bardo takes literature to a place it has never been before (at least in my experience). This historical fiction with supernatural elements is about the loss of Abraham Lincoln’s beloved son Willie. The story is formatted like a play, with most of the dialogue between ghosts inhabiting the cemetery in which Willie is buried and where Lincoln frequently visits. The story is sad, but Saunders incorporates whimsical and satiric humor to add some levity and lightness.
More than anything, Lincoln in the Bardo is about grief and the human condition, and specifically about the grief that a parent experiences in losing a child. Strange but gratifying, this book is a well-deserved winner of last year’s Man Booker Prize.
– Marilu Morgan
The Food Explorer: The Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats
Penguin Random House
American botanist David Grandison Fairchild was born four years after the Civil War, and died one year after the Korean War. A midwesterner, he combined the practicality of a farmer, the discipline of a scientist, and the nerve of a conquistador. His friendship with wealthy traveler Barbour Lathrop led to financed treks to the world’s most distant places. Fairchild bought, traded, and filched plant samples from the locals, sending them back to the fledgling Department of Agriculture, which fed them into mainstream farming America. Like avocados, nectarines, dates, pistachios and soybeans? Raise your next scoop of guacamole to David Fairchild.
– Bruce Collier
Ariel S. Winter
Retreating from the city in search of solitude, Sapien engages a beach cabana below the cliffs of Barren Cove. Sapien is a first-generation robot, created by humans. He arrives at his landlord’s Victorian mansion atop the cliffs, missing a left arm. Sapien informs the house computer, Dean, that his new arm will be coming. The visit leaves Sapien with a sense that the household is weirdly dysfunctional. He returns to his cabana resolved to give the mansion a wide berth.
Later, collecting his arm, Sapiens befriends Dean, and downloads Dean’s dark files on the family’s human patriarch, Beachstone. Beachstone’s robot wife Mary is ostracized for her “miscegenation” by second and third generation relatives—robot-built robots, contemptuous of both humans and Sapiens’ human-built generation. Ironically, latter-day robots are blind to inherent flaws from their human creators. Robot or not, humanity triumphs in its Biblical prediction that the fathers’ sins are visited upon the sons, down to the second and third generations.
– Wynn Parks
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