New ebook releases (11/16/2012)
Dear Life by Alice Munro | Short Stories
Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is rescued by a seasoned newspaper columnist, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, toward a hoped-for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancée from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move. A wealthy young woman having an affair with the married lawyer hired by her father to handle his estate comes up with a surprising way to deal with the blackmailer who finds them out.
Let’s be honest—nobody has more fun than atheists. Don’t believe it? Well, consider this: For nonbelievers, every day you’re alive is a day to celebrate! And no one celebrates life to the fullest like Penn Jillette—the larger, louder half of legendary magic duo Penn & Teller—whose spectacularly witty and sharply observant essays in Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday! will entertain zealots and skeptics alike. Whether he’s contemplating the possibility of life after death, deconstructing popular Christmas carols, or just calling bullsh*t on Donald Trump’s apprentice training, Jillette does not fail to shock and delight his readers. And as ever, underneath these rollicking rants lie a deeply personal philosophy and a generous spirit, which find joy and meaning in family, and peace in the simple beauty of the everyday. Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday! is a hysterical affirmation of life’s magic from one of the most distinctly perceptive and provocative humorists writing today.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan | Literary
Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”
Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.
It has been more than two hundred years since Bookholm was destroyed by a devastating fire, as told in Moers’s The City of Dreaming Books. Hildegunst von Mythenmetz, hailed as Zamonia’s greatest writer, is on vacation in Lindworm Castle when a disturbing message reaches him, and he must return to Bookholm to investigate a mystery. The magnificently rebuilt city has once again become a metropolis of storytelling and the book trade. Mythenmetz encounters old friends and new denizens of the city—and the shadowy “Invisible Theater.” Astonishingly inventive, amusing, and engrossing, this is a captivating story from the wild imagination of Walter Moers.
The Last Man by Vince Flynn | Mitch Rapp #13 | Thriller
An invaluable CIA asset has gone missing, and with him, secrets that in the wrong hands could prove disastrous. The only question is: Can Mitch Rapp find him first?
Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp’s experience and nose for the truth make him wonder if something even more sinister isn’t afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs.
Rapp, however, isn’t the only one looking for Rickman. The FBI is too, and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re less concerned with finding Rickman than placing the blame on Rapp.
With CIA operations in crisis, Rapp must be as ruthless and deceitful as his enemies if he has any hope of finding Rickman and completing his mission. But with elements within his own government working against both him and American interests, will Rapp be stopped dead before he can succeed?
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín | Novella
In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was “worth it”; nor that the “group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye,” were holy disciples.
Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the Cross until her son died—she fled, to save herself), and her judgment of others is equally harsh. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Tóibín’s tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.