2014 Eisner Award Nomintations

“The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comics world. Named for the pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, the awards are given out in more than two dozen categories during a ceremony each year at Comic-Con International: San Diego.” [X]

If you have a minute (or four) to peruse the lengthy list of nominations, click here. Otherwise, here’s a closer look at a few of the nominated titles you can find in either the YA or adult graphic novel collection.

Hawkeye.FractionAbout Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye:

“The breakout star of this summer’s blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton – aka the self-made hero Hawkeye – fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he’s out to prove himself as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence – before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won’t believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe…and the darkest parts of Hawkeye’s mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble…and stealing from the rich never looked so good.”

Volume 1 – Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon
Volume 2 – Hawkeye: Little Hits
Volume 3 – Hawkeye: L.A. Woman (Coming August 2014)

SagaVaughnAbout Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga:

“When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds.”

Saga: Volume 1
Saga: Volume 2
Saga: Volume 3

BlufftonAbout Matt Phelan’s Bluffton:

“In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, “the human mop,” but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends.”

Also by Matt Phelan: Around the World: Three Remarkable Journeys

BoxersYangAbout Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers:

“China,1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers – commoners trained in kung fu who fight to free China from “foreign devils.” Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils” – Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.”

The Pulitzer Prizes 2014

Fiction: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.”
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Poetry: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri
In an array of poetic forms from the rhyming lyric to the philosophical meditation to the prose essay, 3 Sections confronts perplexing divisions of contemporary life—a wayward history, an indeterminate future, and a present condition of wanting to outthink time.
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General Nonfiction: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin
“Recounts the decades-long saga of the New Jersey seaside town plagued by childhood cancers caused by air and water pollution due to the indiscriminate dumping of toxic chemicals.”
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History: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor
“Drawn from new sources, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian presents a narrative that recreates the events that inspired hundreds of slaves to pressure British admirals into becoming liberators by using their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war.”
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Biography or Autobiography: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
The award-winning author of The Peabody Sisters takes a fresh look at the trailblazing life of a great American heroine—Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, first female war correspondent, and passionate advocate of personal liberation and political freedom.
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Staff Review: Furies: War in Europe, 1450-1700 – Lauro Martines

As someone who loves the swashbuckling fiction of authors like Alexander Dumas, Rafael Sabatini and Arturo Pérez-Reverte it seemed like reading a non-fiction work on war in the period the books are set in would be a good idea.furies-war-in-europe-1450-1700 That is what brought me to Lauro Martines’ Furies: War in Europe, 1450-1700. The book came as a bit of a surprise. I had expected accounts of battles and the political machinations that made them happen. What I got was a book on the logistics of creating armies and the day to day lives of soldiers in early modern armies and the civilians that supported them (both willingly and unwillingly). In fact Martines goes out of his way to avoid discussions of the battles, politics and diplomacy that created wars in this time. This might turn off a person who really wants the action of a standard military history but the sense of depth and meticulousness Marines brought to his subject makes it fascinating.

This book covers a lot of territory. One of the features of the period between 1450 and 1700 that gets lost behind the study of that rebirth of art and science called the Renaissance is just how violent it was. In that 350 years, wars were fought continually across the length of Europe. There were the dynastic struggles between France and Spain in Italy during the 1400s (collectively if not imaginatively) called the Italian wars. The 1500s saw wars between Catholics and Huguenots for control of the French state called (again not surprisingly) the French Wars of Religion. The Seventy Years War for Dutch independence from Spain spanned the 16th and 17th centuries. And the whole thing seems to culminate in the Thirty Years War in the 17th century, nominally about religion in the German states but which grew to include territorial and dynastic disputes and sucked in every major European power. Those are just the big ones. There are dozens of small local conflicts with unique names like The Schmalkaldic War, Silken Thomas Rebellion and the Moldavian Magnate Wars just to name a few.

Martines starts by showing how princes created their armies. The constant warfare created a manpower shortage that in turn caused princes to use mercenary polyglot armies. One might find Spanish, Italian, Irish or English soldiers fighting in any army regardless of its nation of origin. Similarly, Protestant units fought for Catholic princes and vice versa. Which brings up another of Martines’s major themes, princes need for armies outstripped their ability to pay for them. Armies were created on credit and sooner or later ran out of money for supplies and then began preying on the inhabitants of the lands they passed through. Martines focuses closely on this adversarial relationship between soldier and civilian. Add to this soldiers could go for years without being paid and you have the makings of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster that would simply be ignored by Europe’s leaders.

I would happily recommend this book to anyone who wants to see the inner workings of an early modern army. However you might want to shy away from it if you are looking for the glories and intrigues of a standard military history.

 

Books In Hand: Chris

Books in Hand: What the library’s staff is reading or has just finished.

Power.BrokerThe Power Broker by Robert A. Caro

Synopsis:

“The story of Robert Moses, who shaped the politics, the physical structure and even the problems of urban decline in New York.”

Here it is in the catalog

More about the book: The New York Times | Business Week

wisdom.no.escapeThe Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Synopsis:

“This book is about saying yes to life in all its manifestations-embracing the potent mixture of joy, suffering, brilliance and confusion that characterizes the human experience.”

Here it is in the catalog

Chris is also currently reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Staff Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky – Nancy Horan

Under the Wide and Starry Sky is dual historical fiction biography of Robert Louis Stevenson and UnderFanny Osbourne. The story begins with Fanny arriving in Antwerp with her children fleeing her philandering husband in America. A lot of time is spent with Fanny before Stevenson is introduced in chapter ten jumping through a window in a French inn. This is a subtle statement of one of the books major themes that without Fanny Osbourne there would have been no Robert Louis Stevenson. Horan is very good at this showing how at every step of his writing career it was Fanny that supported him, edited his stories, gives him ideas and often times nursed him back to health all at the expense of her own writing and painting. That devotion becomes one of the major tensions of their relationship. However, the one question that Horan doesn’t really answer is does why Fanny do it. It is very clear what Stevenson sees in Fanny. She is an exotic America who rolls her own cigarettes. To the sickly Stevenson who was just starting to get out from under the thumb of his parents and have adventures of his own she was irresistible. It’s not clear though what she sees in him besides a brilliant writer. In spite of that weakness, the characters are very sharply drawn. One obvious group this book would appeal to is lovers of Stevenson’s writing who will not be able to resist watching him write their favorite books. Horran also does an excellent job creating the world for the reader and she has to. Stevenson and Osbourne cover a lot of ground: Paris, Scotland, The east and west coast of the US and the South Pacific among others. Those places are as much a part of the story as the protagonists and her writing takes you there and gives you the feeling of walking along with the them through the latter half of the 19th century.

Shortlist: Arthur C. Clarke Award

ACCAThe Arthur C. Clarke Award is given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. The award was established with a grant given by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the first prize was awarded in 1987 to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. [Source]

God’s War by Kameron Hurley
“On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on– There’s not a chance in hell of ending it. Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war– but at what price? The world is about to find out.”

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
“From debut author Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice is a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.”

The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann

Nexus by Ramez Naam
“In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage — for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.”

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
“In the near future, Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled from Anatolia to Britain when his wife, an aid worker, is killed—annihilated by a terrifying weapon that reduces its target to a triangular patch of scorched earth.”

The Machine by James Smythe

Links lead to the NOBLE catalog.

Patron Review: The Troop – Nick Cutter

the.troopReviewed by Kim

Five boys and their scoutmaster set off for a small Canadian island for some bonding, etc. Everything is going well until “Typhoid Tom” as he comes to be known comes ashore and events quickly spiral out of control. I bought The Troop because of all the positive feedback and I had already heard so much about it before it came out. After reading it, I’m still glad I bought it but it is definitely a disturbing book. For me, it brought to mind Lord of the Flies with more horror elements thrown in. As in some of the best horror books, worse than the actual “monster” or in this case mutated tapeworms, it’s the actions of the people that usually come to the forefront. In this case, the actions of the adults in this book brings to mind the worst of humanity. The five boys, except for one budding psychopath, actually come off more likeable despite being trapped with, after the beginning, no adult supervision, no communication, no care packages, etc. This despite being surrounded by military ships and helicopters. There are some deeply disturbing and explicit passages featuring what the boys and even some animals suffer which I confess I had to skim because they were just too grisly. All that said, I think this is unfortunately an extremely realistic story, and one that will give you nightmares. One thing I’d like to respectfully disagree with. Some reviewers have complained that this is more geared for the YA audience . I can see perhaps New Adults, but definitely not teenagers!

Patron Review: Concealed In Death – J.D. Robb

concealed in deathReviewed by Kim

I hate to say this but Concealed in Death was the first book in the series I didn’t buy, but instead borrowed from my library. After reading it I feel I made the right choice. The last few books seem to be a little off to me, whether they’re things like the changing of where the button came from that Roarke constantly carries in his pocket, or Peabody’s sudden channeling of Eve, and swearing up a storm. Even Eve and Roarke’s relationship doesn’t seem quite as passionate, and the barbs that she and Summerset exchange that are usually so enjoyable have definitely lost their sting. That said, I did enjoy the book. The plot was different and so was the villain. It wasn’t quite so stock in trade as in some of the previous books. You don’t see a lot of your favorite secondary characters. I particularly missed McNab and Feeney, but Morris might have a new love interest, and Mavis brings in a unique twist to the story. So basically I’m a bit torn. I’m still enjoying the series enough to keep reading, just not enough to buy. Which is why I thank God for libraries!

Check the catalog for availability.