Wednesday, October 4, 2017


UNCOMMON TYPE is a collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game--and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have! 

“Wait—Tom Hanks can write, too? Funny, moving, deftly surprising stories? That's just swell. Maybe there's no crying in baseball, pal, but it's perfectly acceptable in the book business. That's how we drown envy.” —Carl Hiaasen 
“It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.” —Steve Martin 
Tom Hanks narrates, with additional performances on the story "Stay with Us" by five other voice actors. 

Here are some audiobooks related to short stories, including the Audie winner NEW YORK STORIES, available for download (no membership required.) 
Robert A. Heinlein has been hailed as one of the most forward-thinking science fiction writers of all time, and Expanded Universe (presented in two volumes) offers the perfect collection of his works to provide listeners with true insights into his uniquely creative mind. Heinlein personally selected each story or essay for inclusion in this collection, which is ordered chronologically, starting with his first sale in 1939 of “Life-Line” to Astounding (for seventy dollars). This remarkable collection highlights the development of Heinlein’s writing style and his philosophy on life throughout his career. More importantly, this collection is as close to an autobiography as anything Heinlein wrote during his life. Heinlein was an extremely private person who never wrote much about himself. In this exclusive collection, he offers forewords to most of his stories and essays (and an occasional afterword), giving listeners a rare glimpse into the inner mind of the master. Expanded Universe is a must-have for any Heinlein enthusiast and any fan of science fiction. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Rise of Lone Wolf Active Shooters

People want to know why tragic acts of murder occur, as in the Las Vegas shooting. Most mysteries concentrate of WHO, and leave out the WHY, but the only way to curb such tragedies is not to simply label them as "terrorism," especially since religious motives are not always the cause. Unparalleled research and a unique international perspective propel The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer, which examines the massacre in Norway and why this lone-killer phenomenon is increasing worldwide. Based on true events. “The thesis, that lone wolves can be identified only by sensitive observation by the communities within which they attempt to form connections, is believable and clearly stated. This will appeal to readers interested in criminology, sociology, and psychology.” Library Journal
“The author’s argument has wide application: namely, that by overlooking announcements of intent, in effect, that these killers often make before acting, law enforcement officials will miss the lone wolf killers among us. An urgent but evenhanded treatise that deserves a wide readership.” Kirkus Reviews 
Look in the Search this Blog box for reviews on the other titles shown.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer

ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer. Plot: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers―they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding―but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything. Narrated by Carolyn McCormick. Don’t let the couple of bad reviews at the site dissuade you. One says it “fell flat,” and the other “do not care one single iota about anything this author has written.” Right. Well, it won a Nebula Award for Best Novel, a Shirley Jackson Award, a USA Today Favorite Beach Read, a Salon Best Audiobook of the Year. Then it was praised by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. And it will be a major movie in February 2018, starring Natalie Portman, directed by Alex Garland, who wrote and directed Ex Machina, which made Alicia Vikander a star. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A LEGACY OF SPIES by John Le Carre

In A LEGACY OF SPIES by John Le Carre, Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications. Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carré has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carré and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new. Narrated by actor Tom Hollander. Listen on your iPhone or iPod or Android. Hollander has appeared in the films Pirates of the Caribbean, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, and About Time. He supports a variety of charitable causes in innovative ways. In 2006 he ran his first race for the Childline Crisis hotline, and in 2007 ran for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He is a long-time supporter of the Helen and Douglas House in Oxford, which provides Hospice care for children, and continues to support charitable organizations by contributing readings and other appearances throughout the year. Hollander is a patron of BIFA, the British Independent Film Awards, and has supported the efforts of the Old Vic's "24 Hour Plays New Voices" Gala, which forwards the cause of young writers for the British stage.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Alien Covenant Origins: the Prequel to the Movie

New audiobooks for September 2017. The Covenant mission is the most ambitious endeavor in the history of Weyland-Yutani. A ship bound for Origae-6, carrying two thousand colonists beyond the limits of known space, this is make-or-break investment for the corporation—and for the future of all mankind. Yet there are those who would die to stop the mission. As the colony ship hovers in Earth orbit, several violent events reveal a deadly conspiracy to sabotage the launch. While Captain Jacob Branson and his wife, Daniels, complete their preparations, security chief Daniel Lopé recruits the final key member of his team. Together they seek to stop the perpetrators before the ship and its passengers can be destroyed. An original novel by the acclaimed Alan Dean Foster, author of the groundbreaking Alien novelization, Alien: Covenant Origins is the official chronicle of the events that led up to Alien: Covenant. It also reveals the world the colonists left behind. Narrated by Tom Taylorson. Order HERE.
FENDER LIZARDS. Dot waitresses on roller skates at the Dairy Bob, doesn’t care for smoking, at least partly on account of her dad having never returned from a cigarette run, and carries on the family tradition of philosophizing. Life hasn’t done her any favors in her seventeen years so far. But if there was ever a heroine built for turning things upside down and seeing what shakes out, it’s Dot. Determined to find out who she is and why she’s the way she is, an opportunity presents itself when her heretofore-unknown uncle suddenly moves his camper into the front yard. As in his classic novels The Bottoms and The Magic Wagon, Lansdale instills place with character and character with place. Here is an overlooked world and a cast of real folks that prove unforgettable, all rendered in one of American fiction’s most authentic voices. Now out, narrated by Kasey Lansdale.
YORK: The Shadow CipherFrom National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner Laura Ruby comes the first book in an epic alternate history series about three kids who try to solve the greatest mystery of the modern world: a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City. It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction. Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it. Out now, read by Adam Verner.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven

Hurricanes like Irma are becoming more frequent as weather gets ever more extreme. In the new fantasy/apocalypse novel FantasticLand a theme park in Daytona Beach is hit and isolated. “Fun” is no longer “guaranteed” as the park is isolated and becomes the scene for Lord of the Flies-like horror as groups of teens form rival tribes reminiscent of the Hunger Games in order to survive. Park employees don’t have cell phones due to restrictive park policies, and the new social network created is divided into the Pirates, ShopGirls, Freaks, and Mole People. "Stranger Things" happen. There are heads on spikes near rides, as civilization breaks down. Having lived in Daytona, I can relate to the wild weather and flooding. They call it the “Sunshine State,” but that’s a joke: Arizona should take that motto! The way the story is told reminds me of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, which was a series of first person interviews intended to investigate a death. It’s a cautionary tale, alternative horror read by Luke Daniels and Angele Dawe. Also, a hurricane hits Miami in THIS audio novel!