Reading Season

It’s been a bit dreary here in the mid-Atlantic this week. That, coupled with my recent road trip from Virginia to Rhode Island, means that I have been reading. A lot. (Apologies to the boyfriend who was completely ignored for the 4 hours he drove from New Jersey to Virginia as I tackled a couple hundred pages of the newest Stephen King. For that he gets my undying love and affection. Oh, what a prize!) This means that I have a few recommendations! They are as follows:

1. Stephen King‘s 11/22/63 is not scary. But it is intense at times; a tad controversial (if you’re a conspiracy theorist); and completely engrossing. I have not even finished reading the book, yet here I am recommending it. That’s because it is that good. Not even 40 pages in I was repeating, “Holy crap!” and “Woah…”, (much to the boyfriend’s dismay, as I was interrupting his NYC radio experience). This book is fast-paced, with short sections in chapters that fly by. 11/22/63 is the story of a Maine English teacher in 2011 who is presented with the experience of time-traveling. His mentor gives him the duty of thwarting Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of JFK, in hopes that his staying alive will change the course of other bad moments in American history. Jake’s experiences in the re-lived 1958 lead him to stay a bit longer, then a bit longer, until… Well, I have no “until” because that’s where my bookmark is stuck. (Is it 6:00 yet? Can I go home now?)
I recommend this book to fans of history, though you won’t find historic facts peppered throughout, a la Erik Larsen’s Devil in the White City. Other than the segregation and racial undertones of the South during the time-traveled-to era, King doesn’t dissect history.

2. Machine Man by Max Berry is a dark and realistic tale of what could happen if the right thing happened to the right person. And vice versa. Dr. Charles Neumann loses his leg in a work accident, and decides to build his own prosthetic leg (because that’s what scientists do). He quickly learns how poorly designed his biological leg is, and feels that it is hindering his body from being productive. His hands are worthless, too. And his arms. Charles and his team of young, enthusiastic interns work long, restless hours to create improved body parts for their company Better Future. Little do they know, the company is going far beyond the field of prosthetics.
I recommend this book for techies (there is enough detail into the making of the parts that would interest any techie), those who think corporations are evil, and anyone interested in reading a well-written book that might make you squirm a bit. I cannot wait to get my hands on another Max Berry book.

3. The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan is a young adult book that takes place in Medieval Europe. Will is an orphan, and a ward of the castle. He is chosen, reluctantly it seems, to be the apprentice of Ranger Halt. Will, at first begrudgingly, follows the orders and teachings of Halt, but quickly comes to love the work of the Rangers. The plot thickens over halfway into the book, when the kingdom is threatened by the return of the evil former Baron, Morgareth. The ensuing battle is short, but whets the reader’s appetite for the remaining books in the 11-book series.
I recommend this book for young readers who enjoy adventure. There isn’t too much filler, so it maintains the attention of even reluctant readers. I enjoyed getting to know (and respect) the character of Will, Halt, and Horace.

As always…more to come.

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