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. Out 9/26/17. Narrated by Tom Taylorson. Preorder 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!

Monday, September 4, 2017


Anton Chigurh is the antagonist from No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Portrayed by Javier Bardem in the movie version, he represents fate or chance. The Black Swan of unpredictable events. Wonder Woman represents goodness and truth: overcoming the Dark Side and offering mercy, something Chigurh never does. Together, they seem an apt representation of the dichotomy of our times. On the one hand, we strive for the ideals of love and the American Way while fighting wars, and the other there is the lone gunman in the shadows, the bomber driven by individual motivations…religion, politics, or inner demons. How can you fight something or someone who doesn’t play by the rules? Chigurh is an enigma, like the Tom Cruise character in Collateral. He doesn’t want publicity, thinks our system is irretrievably broken, and nothing matters at all anymore. Chigurh/Sugar? Just like being mesmerized by the thought processes of killers, we are addicted to our own genetic urges to consume things that are bad for us. The author of The Black Swan, Nicholas Taleb, also wrote about the Chigurh-like philosophy of Coke and Pepsi in his book Antifragile. Interesting, the links between things. It’s something the press is always doing, chasing viral videos and connections between things that may not have a connection at all. It could just be chance, as Chigurh said.        
She will become one of the world's greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . . Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn't know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies―struck by a laundry van―after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterand. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was murdered? In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring such luminaries as Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva―as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory. Soon Bayard finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.” A brilliantly erudite comedy that recalls Flaubert’s Parrot and The Name of the Rose―with more than a dash of The Da Vinci Code—The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Paris to the corridors of Cornell University and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the era of the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.

Monday, August 28, 2017

IT by Stephen King

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them to reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers. Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It. ...The Deadlights. That’s Stephen King’s term in the book and now movie IT. As in, “like a deer caught in the headlights.” The culture of violence overflowing from sewers into the streets in riots and murders. “I love it!” says Pennywise, the creepy clown. Symbols are everywhere in the movie and book. Fear is key. Fear, used by politicians and CEOs to control and watch us, use us, and tax the middle class down for the long count? On that socially symbolic level the novel and movie may be both appropriate and prescient. We are not penny-wise. We want pounds of flesh. Like the Walking Brain Dead, name your poison, and it is there. Including Poison Perfume! Only by coming together, and fighting the fear bravely, do the resisters win in the story. Truth, and love. That alone kills Pennywise. The novel is read on audio by actor Steven Weber, who has appeared in dozens of movies and TV series, including Wings, Without a Trace, Once and Again, The D.A., The Big Year, Single White Female, Farm House, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, and three of Stephen King's TV adaptations: Desperation, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, and The Shining

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RIVETED by Jim Davies

Spinoffs, sequels and prequels exist because people become enamored of things they already like. We are conditioned to ignore things that are different or new, says the author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One With the Universe. People do not like change, and this leads to a host of side effects in our culture, including pseudo-scifi blaster battles with one-liners, or first person shooter games, including the killing of cops and innocents in games like the Grand Theft Auto series. Billions of dollars are generated, but the net effect on society (and imagination) is negative. (As the work of Ray Bradbury demonstrates.) People end up reading less, and killing more time. Jim Davies explains why visceral experience is so potent, pattern recognition is so important, and why attention spans are dropping. Marketing influences us to fear things we shouldn’t in order to manipulate our choices. A great analogy here is junk food: the taste rewards for sugar, fat, and salt are like crack cocaine, and just as difficult to quit. The result is disease, physical or mental, while drug costs to treat these diseases are “going viral.” Meaning sky high. Forces work on us subconsciously, the author shows, and we are not even aware of it. One's past experience goes into determining what we will believe about ourselves, others, and the world. This is independent of the reality of those things. Narrated by Matthew Josdal, the audiobook draws on psychology, computer science, and biology to explain why we choose what we do, and why most of those choices are conditioned responses made by our emotional brains rather than our reasoning brains. On Mp3-CD too, for fascinating listening on the road or at the gym.
Save your vision with audiobooks.