Welcome to Jason's recommendations!
Check out what Jason has been reading below!
This tale of grief and love is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Edgar. He loves the two women in his life, his mother, Lucy, and his grandmother, Lucy's mother-in-law. Lucy is really unaware of how to raise her son (and she has not really come to grips with her own past traumas), and the grandmother is the one who takes care of him. When Edgar's grandmother dies, there is a lot of growing up that both Lucy and Edgar have to do together. Can they? Of course there will be trials ahead for this relationship when Edgar goes missing and Lucy has to desperately find him as a bearded stranger in a green truck explodes from nowhere to throw this book into darker territory. Love is what will hold Edgar and Lucy together. The writing just grabbed me and dragged me into its depths; I simply adored this novel and its characters.
Lee is a seventeen-year-old-girl who has gotten into a bit of trouble. Not that she is innocent (a bit of kleptomaniac) or completely guilty either. She runs in with the wrong crowd, steals something that is not hers. and now she is on the run with nobody to turn to. Lee takes you into the underbelly of Philadelphia, the sections that people have abandoned, and attempts to solve the mystery she has fallen into, having to do with the famous artist Marcel Duchamp. Yes, Augustus Rose melds together a lot of information and story methods. He does it with amazing skill pulling on secret societies, hacking, art theft, conspiracies, drugs, and so much more. This plot moves, it does not slow down, it will drag you along with it to the conclusion, which will have you gasping for breath. Such a brilliant journey.
I was laughing out loud--and not just from the perfect humor of the Egyptian gods but from the cartoonish drawings that perfectly set up and reinforced that humor. Steele is retelling the Osiris myth, but with a contemporary change in the writing to fit in with today's reader. There are all sorts of great parts in this book, there is: brother killing brother, incest, necrophilia, dismemberment, assassination, the fit-inside-the-box game and out-right lying. Needless to say, this graphic novel is not for kids--very much adult. I found with all the fun I was having, I learned a lot about Egyptian mythology (Steele includes a handy deity chart in the back, and even that just enhances the craziness that exists in the mythology) and the messed up existence they lived.
Throw out the thought that the Curtis Dawkins is serving a life sentence and insert the thought that this an amazing short story collection by a debut author. Each and every story builds The Graybar Hotel, as we glimpse the emotional lives of the inmates of Kalamazoo Prison. These inmates are cut off from the world; time moves and sounds different than before. One character calls random numbers just so he can hear a voice, or any noise, for his 15 minutes, anything to connect him to the outside world again. It reminded me of reading early Denis Johnson. in the way that the writing is sparse, and so I fell right into the stories and suffered along with the inmates. A captivating read that allowed me a glimpse of the humane side of prison life.
This was such an amazing book! The tale takes place in the graveyard where Abraham Lincoln's son, Willie, is laid to rest. The ghosts of the graveyard tell their tales as they are stuck living the end of their lives and they don't want to move on, however they are willing to help Willie move on. Will Willie hang around his graveyard or will he allow the ghosts to help him. This story is much more about hope and life then it is about sadness and loss. Such a magnificent feat!!
"This book was so much fun! Invoking previous post-apocalyptic novels, Joe Hill creates a disease called Dragonscale that throws the world into chaos. Harper Grayson has witnessed the horror that can come from the illness, people blowing up in spontaneous combustion. She works the hospital helping the ill, until she also is one. Fleeing for her life, she is rescued by the Fireman, who has the magical ability of controlling his Dragonscale on a grand scale. Such an imaginative and brilliant story!" --Jason
It’s senior year of college and Stephen Florida plans, big plans He was to go out at the top of his weight class in wrestling at the end of the season to solidify his legacy. But with one collapse, one injury, those plans go awry. The book becomes more disturbing as Stephen falls down a very black hole that has him performing crazy antics and driving away his only two friends. He's self-destructive and nuclear to all those around him, and yet I still rooted for him to rebound, get healthy, and win. Habush's writing locked me into the character's mind set, speeding along with his dangerous ideas - I couldn't put the book down! At the end, Stephen Florida is just a kid who is looking to make sense of the world that doesn't make sense. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Jason Dessen is a science professor in Chicago with a wife and a child, and he is living what he feels is a good, if not great, life. He gave up a life, in which he might have been one of the greatest living physicists. However, it is a choice he does not regret, as he loves his son that nudged down this path. Others might have regrets about the decision. One night he is kidnapped and drugged--his kidnapper seems familiar (or could that be the drugs?) to him. When he wakes, he finds himself in a lab with people who know him, but the more he finds out, the more he realizes that he is not the Jason they know. This is a fantastic philosophical 'what if' speculative thriller that has crazy unforeseen surprises littered around so that you just might fall into one and be blown away by actions of Jason.
"This could well be Neal Stephenson's best work to date, equal parts Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. An event occurs that leaves humanity on the brink of extinction with very little time on the clock to attempt to survive. Most writers would start well after the event and leave out all the important how parts, the parts readers want to know, like how does civilization continue or barring that, humanity. The leaders of Earth hatch a harsh plan to save humanity; nothing is easy and survival is not assured, but there is true heroism in the early pages of this novel as humanity has to learn to live in a foreign environment without the cozy confines of atmosphere or terra firma. To say this was a great novel does not do it justice; Stephenson creates a breathtaking take on the catastrophic ending of the world and the saving of the human race. Then he brings it full circle, leaving me completely in awe." --Jason
This was a fascinating look at the idea of Roman peace. How they understood it, implemented it, and what agreements they made to ensure it. The Romans didn't have the manpower to garrison their entire empire and so through carefully crafted negotiations with allies and neighbors they were able to ensure a kind of peace. Warfare never ended, but it also didn't consume the Roman Empire. So, if the political side of the Romans failed in keeping peace, then they brought out the side that carried the big stick and sustained their style of peace. They knew that brutality couldn't hold the empire together, it took many relationships to help Rome grow. Such a well-researched topic and so fascinating to read--I can always trust that Adrian Goldsworthy will put out a great read.
Wars and violence have transformed our world in Yuknavitch's near future novel. The answer to this Joan, who fights for Earth and against everything her nemesis Jean de Men embodies. Jean de Men has taken most of humanity up to an orbiting station, where they can reap what they need from Earth and destroy their enemies. The survivor on the station have become sexless, hairless and pale shadows of what their humanity used to be. Using their skin as canvases, the surviving humans tattoo Joan's story on their pale skin to remember her and yearn for a better time. The story alternates between the station and Joan, each pulling the reader into a deeper understanding of what has been lost. The book is mesmerizing and a marvel and should be a must read for fans of Station Eleven or And Again.
"Paolo Bacigalupi writes some bleak futures in his novels. First in, The Windup Girl, and now in his new intense, water-deprived world of The Water Knife, we come to see the many different ways our civilization and ecosystems could go terribly wrong. This is an intense and violent ecopunk novel that follows Angel Velasquez and Lucy Monroe on a hunt for an ancient water deed that could change the southwest water rights. Can they trust each other? Is finding the deed going to solve the water problem or lead to a bigger ill for most everybody? Characters are multidimensional and you can never peg somebody as always being the good person or the bad, and that is how Paolo sucker punches you time again as the plot unfurls. Brilliant novel, a bit too close to reality sometimes, but that could be what we need." --Jason
itch it away. Fourteen-year-old Turtle lives with her father, Martin, outside of town, in a remote area. Only her Grandpa lives anywhere near them, and she only sees him occasionally for a game of Cribbage. This is where Martin is able to craft Turtle the way he sees the world. He doesn't see much in the world that is good, except for Turtle, and she is everything to him. Or so he will lead you to believe with his words, his actions are a completely different matter. You will end up hating her father, but also, you will see the true paranoid brilliance in the monster that Gabriel Tallent created. As the Turtle unfolds the story for us, we are treated to brutal events that shape her life and we witness her survival instincts kick in as she begins understanding what the world could be as opposed to the one she knows. This is a gripping story I will never forget, not one single scene.
Set during the Apartheid in South Africa, the story follows two characters who live in different worlds but the same country. There is Beauty, who will stop at nothing to find her daughter during the Soweto Uprising, and there is ten-year-old Robin who goes through some horrific tragedy of her own that turns her world upside down. Robin and Beauty work at picking up the pieces of their shattered lives. They find each other, and though, they are from different worlds, they recognize the same sadness, anxiety, and fear inside the other. Bianca Marais does a remarkable job at breathing life into such a sad and tense time in South Africa's history; this is a book many people should have on their must-read lists of 2017.
"Mae Holland has an opportunity of a lifetime--she gets a job at The Circle, an internet company that composes of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all rolled into one. She goes from being an individual, with all that comes with that (say, privacy for instance) and becomes an aggregate. Trying to save her before it is too late, is one of the founders of The Circle, who had ended up being a honored recluse to those of the Circle. Will he be able to save Mae before the Circle is completed?It is our generations 1984!" --Jason
"Borb can’t catch a break. He gets new teeth, he loses them, he gets place to stay and then he wears out his welcome. Alcohol is one of his demons, give him a bit of money and he will drink his way into oblivion. In oblivion, he dreams of what he could have, of what he thinks he wants, only to have alcohol sap it all away. Jason Little’s illustrations capture Borb’s life in all its dismal glory. He says so much about addiction and homelessness, and ultimately how hard it is to get out of that downward spiral, which too few ever do." --Jason
"Inside this graphic novel lies the spark that blew Europe up in the early 20th Century. Henrik Rehr illustrates the uneasiness in the Austro-Hungarian Empire leading up to the World War I, and details exactly where Gavrilo Princip came from and what his perception of his world was. The drawings are in black and white and they illuminate the despair that the Slavs feel they are drowning in, and that their only answer to change the course of their people is violence. An enlightening expansion of the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Rehr shows how a region’s unrest encapsulates an entire continent’s." --Jason
What I loved about The Martian was all the science that Andy Weir infused into the plot. In Artemis, he has done it again; this time the story takes place on the moon. Artemis is a moon city created by the Kenya Space corporation. You might be asking yourself, Kenya? With Kenya being located near the equator, it allows the space program to use less fuel to get payloads into orbit. There are all kinds of intrigue going at Artemis: smuggling, bribery, and whatnot seems to follow around Jazz. She is a character that really wants to control her own destiny in her own way. She makes mistakes and she learns from them. When an influential resident is murdered, one that Jazz has had dealings with, it sends the story deep into the evolution of the city; and puts Jazz right into the cross hairs of some shady organizations. This is Andy Weir at his best, mixing well-thought out science of building a moon city and funny, smart aleck characters who nearly kill themselves repeatedly. Buckle up you will enjoy the explosive adventure!
Yes, this book is another dystopic look at the future, but it is so much more than that. Humanity has been pushed behind salt lines to keep away from a deadly tick infestation. As in every society, there are the haves and the have-nots, so you have people who live behind the salt lines in relative safety, while the unprotected live in fear of being bitten by a tick. Holly Goddard Jones does a superb job of describing the consequences of such a bite happening in many, many ways. Plus the stamping of the ticks out of the skin was both disgusting and great. There are great, flawed, and well-meaning characters that are stuck in horrible circumstances. A group of Zoners (that is what the people living behind the salt line are referred as) travel outside to see the natural world. Precautions are taken, rules are set, and the group pays a crazy price to go on this mini trip. Of course, that is when everything goes wrong. At the end, I wanted to continue the journey, perhaps one day I will have the opportunity.
A new Murakami is always a time to rejoice, and with Killing Commendatore, this is no exception. It's a novel that melds art, music, sex, and infidelity together in a period of confusion and soul searching for an unnamed painter. After his wife tells him she wants to end their marriage, the painter leaves and starts a new journey that will lead him to meeting new people and Ideas. People we meet along the way have secrets they need to share with the painter, and the painter finds himself becoming entangled into many mysterious circumstances around these secrets. I found myself entranced by this wonderful story and transported to beautiful vistas that Murakami etched into my brain.