New Release Roundup: Recommendations for April 2012
Every month I'll be toiling in the dank, dark mines of literary obscurity, scouring the catalogues of every major publisher to bring the LitReactor faithful a few choice titles hitting the shelves. The following is a brief look at what's worth checking out in April. Full disclosure: unless otherwise noted, none of the below books have been reviewed by myself or other LitReactor staff. These are just a few recommendations based on publisher's notes and my own opinions. Without further ado:
'Sacré Bleu: A Comedy D'art' by Christopher Moore
This historical fiction novel draws from a little-known (at least to me) theory surrounding the death of everybody's favorite depressed painter, Vincent Van Gogh. Was his death actually a suicide? A pile of evidence says no, and Moore assembles a cast of characters who don't buy that their friend Vincent shot himself in the gut and then wandered the countryside desperately seeking medical attention. Basically, it's a whodunit set in the art world of nineteenth century Paris. What's not to like?
'Strange Flesh' by Michael Olson
A seeming throwback to the hacker stories of yore, Strange Flesh sounds like a tale that might do the likes of Gibson and Stephenson proud. James Pryce, cyber-detective, must hunt down and find Billy Randall, the black sheep son of an aristocratic family, who has killed his physical body and reanimated himself inside a virtual reality. Trouble is, Billy doesn't want to be found, and has reprogrammed the world he lives in as James closes in on his trail, navigating the decadent online universe known as NOD, hoping he makes it out alive.
'Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination' by Zakk Wylde and Eric Hendrikx
Who doesn't love a good tell-all rock 'n' roll expose? Zakk Wylde, long-time guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and frontman for the metal-as-all-balls Black Label Society has decided to tell his story of blood, sweat, tears, and immortal heavy metal glory, along with bandmate Eric Hendrikx. Information about what exactly the two have been getting up to all these years is scarce, but rest assured that a man who smashes cans of Coors open on his face onstage probably has some pretty good stories after all those years with the Ozzman.
'Let’s Pretend This Never Happened' by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson, a popular internet scribe, makes her print debut with this collection of stories designed to reveal a simple truth: our most embarrassing stories are the ones that make us who we are. Time will tell if Lawson is cashing in on riding the memoir train, or if she's the female heir-apparent to David Sedaris, but with essay titles like "My Vagina is Fine, Thanks for Asking", it's a safe bet that this will be an entertaining read.
'Salvage the Bones' by Jesmyn Ward
A lighter-hearted, Winter's Bone with a happy ending? Maybe not, but this tale of an impoverished family living in the gulf coast might strike a chord with Daniel Woodward fans nonetheless. The entire novel is set in twelve days leading up to a life-altering hurricane, and while togetherness, bonding, and overcoming adversity might not be quite as satisfying as deep south neo-noir, folks who are hungry for a little down-home feel-good story might want to check this one out.
'Farther Away: Essays' by Jonathan Franzen
Franzen should be no stranger to any reader of this site by now, as his infamously crabby public comments about kindles and the like have made him a bit of a LitReactor pariah. Well, love him or hate him, the author of The Corrections has a new book of essays coming out this month, and it's always fun to read the opinions and tirades of a man who rankles the great book-reading unwashed. Maybe we'll all learn a thing or two.
'The Wind Through the Keyhole' by Stephen King
The Dark Tower series needs no introduction, and fans of the epic are probably going to pick this one up regardless. It's a prequel of sorts, but according to pre-release notes, the novel stands on its own as a fascinating look into the world of Roland Deschain and the Dark Tower mythos. When he's on top of his game, no one spins a tall tale quite like King, and this latest release might answer a pressing question for fans of the horror maestro: has he still got it?
Happy reading, everybody! As always, leave a few lines: do these sound interesting? Anything been overlooked? Picked up one of these titles and loved/hated it? Let us know!
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