New Releases 9/29/14 Recommendations

Welcome to the end of September and the new and recommended edition of my blog.  Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Enjoy! Please read to the very end (or at least scroll) for a wonderful and haunting piece of fiction.
This week my choices may surprise you. In my opinion we should enjoy, learn and share reading. My recommendations  include a children’s series that is fun and should be shared with your young ones. I will share one of my absolute favorite series of books for children.
I have 2 non-fiction recommendations. The first will educate, expose and bring awareness. 
Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After By Rachel Renee Russell. Available September 29, 2014. (of course you dorks!) 
Nikki Maxwell’s favorite fairy tales get dork-tastic twists in the eighth book of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series. After a bump on the head in gym class on April Fool’s Day, Nikki has a wild dream in which she, her BFFs Chloe and Zoey,her crush Brandon, and mean girl Mackenzie all end up playing the roles of some familiar classic fairy tale characters. Of course, the stories don’t go quite as expected—because they each have a very special Dork Diaries spin.
How can you not fall in love with a series that has a book 3 ½? Dork Diaries 3 1/2: How to Dork Your Diary And be on the lookout for more dorkiness available three days later. This one is a “Make your Own Book.” I think every reader young and old should participate in our own dorky diary then share an excerpt. It will be a hoot! Dork Diaries OMG!: All About Me Diary! 

Not new but one of my favorites and I think this is a delightful series for children. 

Bedtime for Frances The talented Russell Hoban’s Frances Books along with Lillian Hoban and Garth Williams created Frances.

I love the charming sweetness of the prose and the enchanting illustrations. In this first Frances book, the little badger adroitly delays her bedtime with requests for kisses and milk, and concerns over tigers and giants and things going bump in the night. Long a favorite for the gentle humor of its familiar going to bed ritual, Bedtime for Frances is at last available with the warmth of full color enriching Garth Williams’s original nuanced and touching art. ‘Here is the coziest, most beguiling bedtime story in many a day.’—Kirkus Reviews

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama. Available September 30, 2014. 

The second volume of the bestselling landmark work on the history of the modern state. Volume two is finally here, completing the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. 

He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. 

And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.

A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic. 

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution: Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, over-time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. 
We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today’s basic political institutions developed.
Beginning with politics among our primate ancestors The Origins of Political Order:  draws on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents. 

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steve Pinker. Available September 30, 2014. 

Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care? 

In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more. Rethinking the usage guide for the twenty-first century, Pinker doesn’t carp about the decline of language or recycle pet peeves from the rule books of a century ago. 

Instead, he applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the challenge of crafting clear, coherent, and stylish prose. In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical know how, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others.
He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish. 

Filled with examples of great and gruesome prose, Pinker shows us how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right.

A Sudden Light: A Novel by Garth Stein. Available September 30, 2014.

The bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain presents a long-awaited new novel in which a boy trying to save his parents’ marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets. 

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. 

Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. 

But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future. 

Spellbinding and atmospheric, A Sudden Light is rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation—a triumphant work of a master storyteller at the height of his power. 

If you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain I can only recommend you read this heart-wrenching and funny book told through the eyes of Enzo. 

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