Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wading Through My Wishlist


Recent additions to the Great Monstrosity that is my wishlist....
The Last Man on the Moon
Gene Cernan

Cernan's frank, earthy memoir of his years at NASA adds another entertaining, informative volume to the burgeoning shelf of books illuminating the inner workings of the space program and the people who made it happen. Coauthor Don Davis, a veteran journalist, helps Cernan craft a colloquial prose style that nicely captures the competitive, macho personality that seemed virtually mandatory for astronauts in the 1960s and '70s. Cernan candidly depicts the reckless streak that twice led to needless injuries jeopardizing his spot on a mission.  Detailed accounts of each flight, including technical problems and personal tensions (particularly with Apollo 17 teammate Jack Schmitt, distrusted because he was a scientist, not a test pilot), remind readers that the space program is a human endeavor, with inevitable failures that make the triumphs that much sweeter.
~Found at S. Krishna's Books~

The Case of the Missing Books
by Ian Sansom

In a field crowded with unlikely sleuths, Israel Armstrong--chubby, nervous, clumsy, headache prone, underachieving--stands out. Hired to be a librarian, he arrives to find his library closed and his position retitled "Outreach Support Officer"--driver of the decrepit mobile library. Worse, the books he's supposed to fill it with have disappeared. Worse yet, his new boss will accept his resignation only if he finds the missing books first. Between Israel's inept sleuthing and the general unhelpfulness of the locals, it looks as if he'll be in Tumdrum a long, long time. Begging to be read aloud, they unfold with a rollicking blend of dry humor, slapstick, and sheer farce that is nonetheless anchored by a strong sense of place and a sobering sense of the place's troubled history. Librarians have found themselves a new hero in Israel Armstrong, who, despite his unheroic demeanor, is a champion against bullshit and bureaucracy in the service of books.
~Found at Tutu's Two Cents~

The Female of the Species
by Lionel Shriver

Gray Kaiser is a renowned anthropologist whose career took off when she discovered a remote African village lorded over by white man Corgie, whose plane crash had convinced the locals that he was a god. Now 59, Gray returns to Il-Ororen to make a film of the village as it was, with the help of her 40-ish assistant Errol. Their lives become entangled with Raphael, the 25-year-old grad student whose uncanny resemblance to Corgie makes him the star of the film and eventually Gray's first lover. This is a remarkable book: it is at once full of very predictable plot turns, yet compelling to read; the three main characters are often cliched and transparent, yet they are striking, original, memorable characters. Fascinating and warmly recommended, though perhaps not for those whose taste runs to sophisticated fiction.
~Found at At Home With Books~


Hannah Stoneham said...

Thanks for sharing this - the female of the species sounds amazing - I might take a look at that one! Hannah

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Amanda, these look great; The Missing Books one sounds great.

Alyce said...

Cool to see that you found one of the books at my site!

Last Man on the Moon looks good.

Zibilee said...

I just bought a copy of The Case of The Missing Books! I found it on clearance at one of the big box stores in my neighborhood. I hear it's very funny and I can't wait to read it. Hopefully you add it to your collection soon as well!

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