A fiction book recommendation: Alan Moore: The Complete WildC. A. T.s by Alan Moore

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2tALshX.
Unquestionably Jerusalem is Moore’s most ambitious statement yet — his War and Peace, his Ulysses. The prose scintillates throughout, a traffic jam of hooting dialect and vernacular trundling nose-to-tail with pantechnicons of pop culture allusion.
Book description from Google Books:
Written by Alan Moore Art by Travis Charest, Mat Broome, Ryan Benjamin and others Cover by Charest Alan Moore is considered by many to be the finest comics writer of the last quarter century. His standout achievements in the medium include WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and From Hell. Now Moore’s defining run on WildC.A.T.s is collected into a single volume, collecting WILDC.A.T.S. #21-34, plus a story from issue #50, featuring the impressive art of Travis Charest and other fine artists who provide breathtaking visuals. Alan Moore took the WILDC.A.T.S back to their roots and stirred up the WildStorm Universe considerably, creating a perfect starting point for catching up the flagship WildStorm superhero team. It’s a tale filled with unsettling revelations and gripping drama – and the introduction of one of WildStorm’s great villains: Tao! On sale January 2
The book is rated 3.32/5 at goodreads.com, from 448 ratings. See 32 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tR5QXy.
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A fiction book recommendation: Kafka: The Early Years by Reiner Stach

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2nrb1uq.
What Mr Stach uncovers in this volume—written last because of a long struggle over access to documents—are the formative experiences of a Kafka who becomes new and surprisingly relevant.
Book description from Google Books:
How did Kafka become Kafka? This eagerly anticipated third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s definitive biography of the writer answers that question with more facts and insight than ever before, describing the complex personal, political, and cultural circumstances that shaped the young Franz Kafka (1883-1924). It tells the story of the years from his birth in Prague to the beginning of his professional and literary career in 1910, taking the reader up to just before the breakthrough that resulted in his first masterpieces, including “The Metamorphosis.” Brimming with vivid and often startling details, Stach’s narrative invites readers deep inside this neglected period of Kafka’s life. The book’s richly atmospheric portrait of his German Jewish merchant family and his education, psychological development, and sexual maturation draws on numerous sources, some still unpublished, including family letters, schoolmates’ memoirs, and early diaries of his close friend Max Brod. The biography also provides a colorful panorama of Kafka’s wider world, especially the convoluted politics and culture of Prague. Before World War I, Kafka lived in a society at the threshold of modernity but torn by conflict, and Stach provides poignant details of how the adolescent Kafka witnessed violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism and nationalism. The reader also learns how he developed a passionate interest in new technologies, particularly movies and airplanes, and why another interest–his predilection for the back-to-nature movement–stemmed from his “nervous” surroundings rather than personal eccentricity. The crowning volume to a masterly biography, this is an unmatched account of how a boy who grew up in an old Central European monarchy became a writer who helped create modern literature.
The book is rated 4.39/5 at goodreads.com, from 61 ratings. See 5 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2myeXvB.
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A fiction book recommendation: Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2stZBsC.
“Memoirs of a Polar Bear” hums with beautiful strangeness. Look at the animals we are. Look at us searching for love, for meaning, for our own true forms.
Book description from Google Books:
The Memoirs of a Polar Bear stars three generations of talented writers and performers—who happen to be polar bears The Memoirs of a Polar Bear has in spades what Rivka Galchen hailed in the New Yorker as “Yoko Tawada’s magnificent strangeness”—Tawada is an author like no other. Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In chapter one, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In chapter two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son—the last of their line—is Knut, born in chapter three in a Leipzig zoo but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away… Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and “the intimacy of being alone with my pen.”
The book is rated 3.47/5 at goodreads.com, from 389 ratings. See 76 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tMzMbd.
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A fiction book recommendation: Earthly Remains: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries) by Donna Leon

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2sRlN0g.
Having lived in Venice for well over 30 years, Leon knows her world intimately, yet never overloads the reader with research. She shows only the tip of her iceberg, confident in the richness that lurks underneath.
Book description from Google Books:
Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery novels set in Venice have won a multitude of fans for their insider’s portrayal of La Serenissima. From family meals to coffee bars, and from vaporetti rides to the homes and apartments of Venetians, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the suffocating corruption, the never-ending influx of tourists, and crimes big and small. Through it all, Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti has been an enduring figure. A good man who loves his family and his city, Brunetti is relentless in his pursuit of truth and some measure of justice. InEarthly Remains, the twenty-sixth novel in this series, Brunetti’s endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break, needs to get away from the stifling problems of his work. When Brunetti is granted leave from the Questura, his wife, Paola, suggests he stay at the villa of a relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in thelaguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’sNatural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house on Sant’Erasmo, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend. Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this celebrated series.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 2062 ratings. See 322 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ua8bku.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sRc9us.

A fiction book recommendation: Since We Fell: A Novel by Dennis Lehane

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2swj77Y.
Other than the predictable complications caused by her agoraphobia, her responses to the terrible things suddenly destroying her life seem almost completely reactionary, drawing little on the subtleties of character Lehane spent so much time developing in the first half of the novel…Nonetheless, Since We Fell is a ride you won’t want to miss.
Book description from Google Books:
The new novel from New York Times bestseller Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island“Lehane is the master of complex human characters thrust into suspenseful, page-turning situations.” —Gillian FlynnSince We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.
The book is rated 3.70/5 at goodreads.com, from 7170 ratings. See 1146 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tOERzD.
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A fiction book recommendation: Blood of the Dawn by Claudia Salazar Jiménez

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2mZJctT.
Blood of the Dawn is a short novel, and maybe that’s why it’s so effective. Salazar Jiménez and translator Elizabeth Bryer make every word count, and the result is a work of concentrated intensity with no room for the reader to escape the horrors that fill just about every page.
Book description from Google Books:
This novel follows three women whose lives intertwine and are ripped apart during what’s known as “the time of fear” in Peruvian history when the Shining Path militant insurgency was at its peak. The novel rewrites the armed conflict in the voice of women, activating memory through a mixture of politics, desire, and pain in a lucid and brutal prose.
The book is rated 3.73/5 at goodreads.com, from 90 ratings. See 15 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mzbDRO.
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A fiction book recommendation: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dQTlGH.
Generally speaking, Ann Patchett is a novelist who knows what she’s doing, and to read her is to feel that you’re in good hands. I just wish she’d let those reckless, exhilarated stepsiblings and their irresponsible 1970s parents get away with having fun.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 New York Times BestsellerThe acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.
The book is rated 3.84/5 at goodreads.com, from 62291 ratings. See 7274 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eLZhOX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2skl4Es.

A fiction book recommendation: Earthly Remains: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries) by Donna Leon

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2sRlN0g.
Having lived in Venice for well over 30 years, Leon knows her world intimately, yet never overloads the reader with research. She shows only the tip of her iceberg, confident in the richness that lurks underneath.
Book description from Google Books:
Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery novels set in Venice have won a multitude of fans for their insider’s portrayal of La Serenissima. From family meals to coffee bars, and from vaporetti rides to the homes and apartments of Venetians, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the suffocating corruption, the never-ending influx of tourists, and crimes big and small. Through it all, Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti has been an enduring figure. A good man who loves his family and his city, Brunetti is relentless in his pursuit of truth and some measure of justice. InEarthly Remains, the twenty-sixth novel in this series, Brunetti’s endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break, needs to get away from the stifling problems of his work. When Brunetti is granted leave from the Questura, his wife, Paola, suggests he stay at the villa of a relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in thelaguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’sNatural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house on Sant’Erasmo, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend. Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this celebrated series.
The book is rated 4.11/5 at goodreads.com, from 2026 ratings. See 316 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ua8bku.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sRc9us.

A fiction book recommendation: Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2tBiPk2.
In language reminiscent of James Joyce’s inventive interior monologues, and contentious scenes recalling the graveyard bickering of fellow Irish novelist Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille…Lincoln in the Bardo fulfills the promise of Saunders’ twisted, inventive, and compassionate short stories.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state–called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo–a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? Praise for Lincoln in the Bardo “A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”–Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review “A masterpiece.”–Zadie Smith “Ingenious . . . Saunders–well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain–crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows.”–Vogue “Saunders is the most humane American writer working today.”–Harper’s Magazine “The novel beats with a present-day urgency–a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on.”–Vanity Fair “A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love.”–Elle “Wildly imaginative”–Marie Claire “Mesmerizing . . . Dantesque . . . A haunting American ballad.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Exhilarating . . . Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read, except that the grotesque humor, pathos, and, ultimately, human kindness at its core mark it as a work that could come only from Saunders.”–The National
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 20107 ratings. See 4558 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2p1u5DC.
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A fiction book recommendation: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2sd8Nl0.
It is, in the end, the author’s note that leaves me feeling generous toward “Small Great Things” despite its shortcomings. Picoult wanted to write about race in contemporary America, and she does. The novel is messy, but so is our racial climate. I give Picoult a lot of credit for trying…
Book description from Google Books:
A woman is caught in a gripping moral dilemma that resonates far beyond her place in time and history in #1 New York Times bestseller Jodi Picoult’s latest novel. A young woman and her husband, admitted to hospital to have a baby, request that their nurse be reassigned–they are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into the courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other’s lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. Praise for Small Great Things “I couldn’t put it down. Her best yet!”–New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman   “A compelling, can’t-put-it-down drama with a trademark [Jodi] Picoult twist.”–Good Housekeeping   “It’s Jodi Picoult, the prime provider of literary soul food. This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying and a bravely thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice.”–Redbook   “Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in Small Great Things, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”–Popsugar
The book is rated 4.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 87338 ratings. See 10914 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2kv0TyN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tvN9w8.