Ron

 Chicken by Lynn Crosbie

Long faded enfant terrible Parnell Wilde’s career has death spiraled to where he’s dressing up as a chicken for a budget TV commercial. After meeting a brilliant cult filmmaker with a huge online following, his fortunes take a dramatic turn, as the two embark on an obsessive and dangerous relationship. Crosbie is definitely an acquired taste who's not for everyone, notable for her interest in repellant characters, sex, pop-culture and drugs, but she writes the most beautiful sentences regardless of whatever filth she’s describing. While her characters aren’t remotely as sympathetic as those found in, say, the work of Heather O’Neill, they’re lavished and rendered with just as much beauty, or more. An updated Clockwork Orange for poets, decadents and the Geritol set.

Adult Fiction Paperback pr2020638

My staff picks this month are as original as if you went to a Dewey Diva presentation to hear about new books by James Patterson and Nora Roberts, but I’m unapologetic. Why? Because in my opinion, both are masterpieces, albeit very different ones.

 The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory, by National Book Award winner Richard Powers is “Monumental… A gigantic fable of genuine truths” (Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times). A huge cast of characters is interwoven like a forest’s root system to connect us to vaster forces, as complex, if not more so, and longer lived than our own lives. In doing so, Powers is somehow able to widen our wonder of, not only the natural, but human, world as well. Margaret Atwood has said that if Powers was an American writer of the 19th century, he’d be the Melville of Moby-Dick; that’s the scale of this epic, which is the sort of book you read from the library, then realize you need to go out and purchase a copy for yourself.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr1306072

 

 Circe by Madeline Miller

Fans of Madeline Miller’s brilliant debut, The Song of Achilles, have waited seven long years for a follow-up. Circe was worth the wait. Once again presenting a subversive re-telling of a minor character from Greek mythology, Miller’s genius is to write thrilling page turners that come from a scholarly, deeply imagined place. Miller has an MA in Classics from Brown, has taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare, and studied in the Dramaturgy department in the Yale School of Drama, where she focused on adapting classical texts to modern forms. The end result? - A classical mythology as highly readable as an airport bookstore thriller, without dumbing things down, and possibly the most fun read of the year. Let’s hope we’re not waiting as long for the next one

 Adult Fiction Hardcover pr2048653 

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding, its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class City by Sam Anderson 

In Tom Perotta’s recent novel, Mrs. Fletcher, a character who works in publishing observes that good sub-titles are what sell non-fiction books. Boom Town certainly offers an extensive one; I don’t think a synopsis is going to be required here. Suffice to say that this is popular history written in a rollicking, if not outright giddy and out of control style by the critic at large journalist for The New York Times Magazine. This is history that seems aimed at millennials, not readers of Thucydides. It’s an awful lot of fun though, whether Anderson is writing about the Sooners and the land rush of 1889, or the shenanigans of Flaming Lips front man and long-time OKC resident Wayne Coyne. The chapters are short and jump around from time period to subject matter at an almost dizzying speed – this is history for people who get their news from their phones and read on their public transit commutes to work. A fun read for those who enjoy unusual or seldom told stories with a hefty helping of quirk.

 

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr2049380

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