Hello Readers! Cayla will be updating the staff picks section while Marie is on maternity leave.
Here are some picks from June:
The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz
Once again, Anthony Horowitz plots murder with a light touch. In The Word Is Murder, the narrator, named Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders (as is the real Horowitz), finds himself entangled with Detective Daniel Hawthorne, who served as a consulting expert for the television programs. Hawthorne has been recently fired but is determined to restore his good name by solving a murder and writing a book about it—but since Hawthorne is not a writer, he has decided to draft Horowitz for the job. Thus Horowitz finds himself an intrigued but not eager Watson to Hawthorne’s Holmes. While not as tightly written as Magpie Murders, it’s an enjoyable “summer read.” – Diane
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli
I’ve just about finished Carlo Rovelli’s brief (just 86 pages) but engaging Seven Brief Lessons on Physics , in which he tackles the core ideas of modern physics. Like a sampling of exquisite appetizers, it makes me want to bite into something more, so when I’ve finished this, I might have to read something by Feynman or Hawking and really dig in! – Diane
I’ve been getting more and more into audiobooks, but I’m not the “I’m going on a long trip, so I need an audiobook”-sort of listener; I’m a sit-and-listen listener. I just finished Blackstone Audio’s version of Middlemarch read by Nadia May (she’s very good!) and BBC Audio’s Brideshead Revisited read by Jeremy Irons (need I say he’s good, too?). These are both books I’ve read and loved, but in coming back to them in audio versions, I discovered new texture (and humor!) that I hadn’t found before. – Diane
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This is a fabulous and dark story set in a fictional West African country, where half the population has magic, and half do not. The non-magical people are in control, and magic has been all but crushed from existence. As a child, Zelie watched as her mother was murdered by the king’s guards for being a powerful maji. Zelie is what is known as a Diviner – a person with stark white hair who has the magic in her blood. But since the Raid, no one’s magic is awakened, and no true maji exist. Her life consists of secretly training in combat while barely containing her rage and desire for retribution against the guards and the king.
Amari is the princess of Orisha, raised in seclusion and trained in courtly manners but also in combat. When her beloved handmaiden and only friend Binta is killed by Amari’s father, she snaps and makes a rash decision that will alter the course of her life and the future of her country.
When Amari, hotly pursued by the whole of the royal guard (headed by Amari’s own brother!), runs smack into Zelie, they realize that perhaps their missions can align. The two wildly different young women set off on a quest to restore magic to Orisha forever.
This was a dark and powerful book. The violence is uncompromising but realistic. I struggled through the romance parts, but it redeemed itself from cliche at the end. The characters are unique and complex. The ending was simply stunning, both in writing and in the plot. The sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is due out in March. The author’s note speaks of Adeyemi’s inspiration for writing the book, watching everything going on recently with the tragic deaths of unarmed young black people. You can see notes of this throughout the story when similar deaths occur.
Highly recommended on audio. – Cayla