Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Mayan Prophecy

Author: Steve Alten

Publication Date: 2011 (apparently published as Domain in 2001)

Category: Conspiracy theory, Doomsday fiction

Who'll want to read it? People who like conspiracies, end-of-the-world fiction, and are willing to take their history with a grain of salt.

Point of no return: Dinosaurs and aliens! After a description of alien battle, on page 10:
"In deadly silence, the pack of Velociraptors closes around its prey, a 31-foot-long female Corythosaurus."

What's it all about? The Mayan calendar ends on 21 December 2012. Archaeologist Julius  Gabriel works his entire life to ensure that this does not mean the end of the world, or the end of the human race. He dies, failed. His only hope is that his son can carry on his work, unravelling the mysteries of the tall, bearded Caucasian teachers in history, who were instrumental in the building of the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, the Nazca desert drawings, even Stonehenge. But his son, Michael, is locked in an asylum. The fate of the world now rests in the hands of his new psychiatrist, Dominique Vazquez, who may be the only one who believes he wrongly incarcerated.

This is an action-packed, history-filled, flight of fancy, that stretches the imagination and takes you on a journey from deep outer space to deep underwater. It is well written, well researched, and well imagined!

Publisher: Quercus

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral

Author: Kris Radish

Publication Date: 2006

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? Women. Possibly older women, who have teenage or older kids, but I think all women will get it.

Point of no return: The title. I saw it more than a year ago, but only just borrowed and read it. Now I want a travelling funeral!

Classic line: 'Laura: "Kind of psychic, Have this missing-daughter thing. Not happy in Chicago. Husband stuff okay."
Rebecca: "You know me, Marie. Stuck in reverse. Filled with loss. Tired of people dying. Feel as if the world has betrayed me. Have not been laid in way too long."
Jill: "You know me a little bit, too. A professor. Wallowing in self-pity. Closeted lesbian - My God, Marie. That's enough. I've never even said that out loud before."
Balinda: "Tired. Tired of sacrifice. Have also not been laid in a very long time. Desperately seeking my own life."
Katherine: "I'm going to laugh, Marie. Let's see ... Supporting the entire world has ruined my back. Missing my dead mother. Settling into life when nothing should be settled. There. That's enough. Are you happy now?"
Marie: "Obviously always very late. Can't let go. Too hard on myself. Need to take a course in spontaneity." '
pages 245-246

What's it all about? Annie Freeman dies, obviously. She doesn't want a traditional funeral, but instead plans a travelling extravaganza for five of her closest friends. Katherine, Jill, Rebecca, Marie and Laura only know each other through their connection to Annie. Some of them have not even met.

They are thrown together on this well-planned trip, spreading Annie's ashes in places that were special and important to her, usually turning points in her life. Along the way, they learn much about Annie, each other, and themselves.

This is a very American tale of sisterhood, but don't let that put you off. I picked it up because of the title, and was happy with my choice after reading the first couple of paragraphs, which describe the terrible tragedy of a dead bra. The rest of the first chapter, in which the owner of said bra mourns it with the UPS lady, just confirmed me in my choice. The rest of the book was likewise entertaining, heart-rending, insightful, and uplifting.

Publisher: Bantam Books

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.