Hannah’s Book Round-up

Hannah rounds up the latest news, releases and happenings in the geek book world…

Book News

Graveyard and Windup Girl win two awards each

You know a book is worth a glance if it’s won an award. If it’s won two, then that’s pretty admirable. But today I give you not one, twice award winning book, but two! And if you can follow that, then you’re definitely worthy of these fine reads.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi has won the 2010 Compton Crook Award for best first novel after winning the Nebula Award earlier this month.

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Meanwhile, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, has won the Carnegie Medal after winning the Newbery Medal and, as the first book to ever win both titles, I think the official line is you have to salute the book before you read it, just to show your respect. Don’t quote me on that. My sources are sketchy. Either way I’m pretty sure it’s worth a read.

2010 Compton Crook Award

Out Now

I’m going to explain that there’s no ‘Coming Soon’ category this week because  – and I want to be very clear about this – all the good books are out now! So, let’s not waste any more time pondering about the future. First up…

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Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

It starts, as all good stories do, with a screenwriter sourcing new talent for his upcoming movie. Clay (the screenwriter) has returned from New York to LA and happens to reunite with his now married ex-girlfriend and her bisexual philanderer husband. He goes to a few of their notorious Beverly Hills parties and also bumps into many more old sinister friends. Then a gorgeous young thing approaches him with an eye on a movie part and he’s forced to face his own, devastating habit of betrayal.

As a massive fan of American Psycho, I’m champing at the bit to see how Ellis takes this potentially sedate storyline and adds some true zest to it. I’m hoping it’ll be brilliant and horrifying at the same time.

The Sword Of Albion by Mark Chadbourn

Ok, time for a mix of history and world devastating weapons with the latest offering from two time British Fantasy Award winner, Mark Chadbourn.

It’s 1588 in London town and a terrible doomsday device that has been kept secretly locked up for millennia has been stolen. But as the thieves themselves have been trying to bring down mankind since time began, maybe we should really take this burglary seriously? It’s ok, Will Swyfre, well known swordsman, adventurer, scholar and rake is going to sort this out!

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Side note: How great would it be to put your job title as ‘adventurer’?

On The Third Day by Rhys Thomas

I’m only going to talk briefly about this book, because I’m quite genuinely terrified this might happen one day.

A deadly disease is sweeping the land, causing infected people to turn violent, murderous, even. But if you catch the disease, won’t worry, on the third day you’ll be dead. So, that’s a comfort.

It’s what we were all worried Swine Flu would turn into and with positive reviews from a host of newspapers, including the Guardian and the Independent on Sunday, I think any fans of Stephen King’s The Stand have a new horror to bury their noses in.*

*Having received a copy to review I can confirm it’s also as big as The Stand. No, really. This isn’t one to take on the train.

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Old Classics

Tales Of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card

This week I’ve decided to look back at a true favourite of mine. Not that the others weren’t. Just that I kind of wish this one was true and so it holds a special resonance for me.

The Tales Of Alvin Maker occurs in a time when colonists are just settling into the New World and building the country up to replicate the America we all know and love. Only difference is, some people in this world are blessed with ‘knacks’ or abilities to do certain tasks very well. This could be as menial as tying the best knots any man has ever seen. Or it may just be the ability to tell a story very well – well enough that said person is able to make their livelihood from travelling the country and telling stories.

Either way, the story focuses on a young boy called Alvin, whose ability is undoubtedly the best. As a seventh son of the seventh son, he is able to make things.

Now, although this may not seem that drastic on first glance, this knack gives Alvin the ability to do an awful lot, including healing others, creating bridges from water and blood and founding a city free from crime, racism and slavery.

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This causes two main problems for Alvin: either people don’t believe in his powers and try to prove him wrong, or they believe too much and resent him for them. All the while poor Alvin is just trying to figure out exactly what he’s meant to do with these exceptional powers of his. He’s sure it’s important, but just wishes people would stop sabotaging him long enough to figure it out.

Honestly, it’s a long series, but I know here at Den Of Geek we don’t shy away from a challenge and this is one that really delivers. An exceptionally well written and beautifully sculpted series of books that are well worth a little peep at.