Book News: Los Angeles’ Best Indie Bookstores, Why You Should Read YA Lit, A Conversation Between Stephen and George & More!


UK Indies Fight Back

How independent bookstores in Britain are finding ways of getting customers in their stores.

More Dark Tower

Everyone’s getting excited with the adaptation of Stephen King’s opus and here are some more groovy photos.

L.A. Indie

The next time you’re in Los Angeles, check out these awesome bookstores.

Why You Should Read YA

A great article with nine reasons why you should be reading young adult books.

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“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans of War” by Mary Roach (Norton, 2016)

Mary Roach has wowed her addictive readers with corpses (Stiff), sex (Bonk), and life in space (Packing for Mars). In Grunt she delves into a new arena with the world of the military and the science behind it that protects them in every way possible.

Roach begins with the military combat uniform and its development over time. The author does her job – as usual – as she delves back into America’s military past providing shocking and insightful tidbits, leading up to the current model. She dedicates entire chapters to combat medics, how the military and technology works with extreme heat, how to deal with excessive noise, military vehicles and how they are developed to protect the soldier in every conceivable situation.

The two chapters that are the most moving and poignant of the book are “Below the Belt” and “It Could Get Weird.” With the disturbing evolution of improvised explosive devices or IEDs, the number of men coming back from the front lines alive but often maimed and mutilated below the waist has increased significantly. Often IEDs go off beneath vehicles or from a low vantage point beneath the person causing the explosion to go upward and usually in the groin area. This had led to an astonishing and impressive development in penis reconstruction and genital transplants. Roach goes into fascinating detail with this line of medicine and surgery, as well as the slower development in therapy and helping these injured veterans in living their lives with their families again.

The book ends with a sobering chapter on the autopsies performed on the fallen men and women in action and how they are learning from this to help those soldiers fighting on the front lines.

With most of Mary Roach’s books there is a learning curve, but in Grunt the author learns and develops along with the reader as the military is one of those facets of our society that most of us are not brave enough to be a part of, and sometimes – perhaps often – take it for granted in the incredible daily job those women and men do, and know very little about. Grunt does a great job of educating us on this.

Originally written on July 12, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Grunt from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: How to Sleep More, More eMusic and Books are Doing Well


Tanith Lee: On remembering the bestselling science fiction author.
How to Sleep More: Apparently using an ereader before bed, like – no doubt – many people do, can affect your sleep habits.
eMusic is Back: After being the big thing in the 90’s, eMusic is rebranding themselves as eStories.
People are Still Buying Books: Book sales rose in May, yay!
All the Colors: Coloring books are still a hot item.

“A Hole in Science: An Opening for an Alternative Understanding of Life” by Ted Christopher (Amazon, Digital Services, 2015)

The premise at the heart of A Hole in Science is that while science purportedly does it best to explain that life, the universe, and everything is tied into the crucial building blocks of life known as deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA, there are apparently some gaps or “holes” in this science that aren’t easily explained. A Hole in Science attempts to explain some of those holes with some alternative answers and ideas for life and reality.

The book covers a wide range of subjects in science, beginning with a breakdown and explanation of genetics, DNA and the genome project, which was supposed to revolutionize biology with allowing scientists to pinpoint diseases like cancer and diabetes to specific genes. This has not happened. Christopher spends a good chunk of the book discussing this, as well as the nature vs. nurture idea, and posing questions like how identical twins sometimes have some things in common and sometimes not; from a scientific standpoint they are practically identical at the DNA level and should therefore be practically clones in real life.

Christopher also tackles subjects like Einstein Syndrome, with brilliant children that struggle with language and development because they are growing geniuses like Albert Einstein; as well as savants, again putting it in context with the DNA template and how it should all figure out but doesn’t. Then there’s the Flynn effect with the IQ of humanity apparently being on the rise over the last couple of centuries and what this possibly means.

The scientific discussions expressed in this book are certainly interesting ones, and Christopher doesn’t hold back in quoting profusely with various scientists, psychologists and known authors. But it is with his “alternative understanding of life” and those explanations that make the book fall flat. His answer in a word is reincarnation. The reason that DNA doesn’t have all the answers; the reason there are gifted children and savant people in the world is due to the transmigration of the soul and reincarnation. Believability for the reader gets stretched really thin when reincarnation is the answer for why IQs are on the rise, since we’re apparently remembering knowledge from past lives. When it comes to the strange behavior of animals, with the unusual relationships with other completely different animals, and how those animals with strong “personalities” are in fact reincarnated human souls. And the sources Christopher uses for his reincarnation explanations include a source from the 1600s, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a book about past lives and reincarnation.

The writing is heavy, detailed and complex, but also thorough and well thought out. A bit of a science background will make the book easier to digest and comprehend, and there are certainly some interesting and thought-provoking discussions made in the book about science and the mysteries of life, but when it comes to possible solutions, those presented seem beyond far fetched and lack any real evidence of any kind.

Originally written on April 20, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of A Hole in Science from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: World’s Oldest Library Reopens, Remembering Elie Wiesel, Amazon B&M Comes To NYC & More!


A New Comic Book Store
Ariell R. Johnson is the first black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast.

World’s Oldest Library
The world’s oldest library, started by a woman in Morocco in the 9th century, is back in business.

Remembering Elie Wiesel
On remembering the well-loved and well-respected author of Night.

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“The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon” by Andres Ruzo (TED Books, 2016)

There is a Peruvian legend that Andres Ruzo once heard his father tell him, of a mysterious river deep within the Amazon jungle that consists of rushing boiling water so hot that anything living that falls into it is immediately boiled alive. It seems like little more than an entertaining folk tale that can’t possibly be true, but now a geoscientist, Andres Ruzo intends to find out whether there is any truth to this “boiling river” story.

Ruzo starts with the research, uncovering what stories he can about this unique river and reading what evidence there is. Through special grants and research trips each summer he travels to his native Peru in search of this river. He eventually is able to track the location within a sacred spaced watched over by local shamans and must gain permission before he can take his team there. When he finally sees the boiling river, through a cloud of steam, he cannot believe it. As he continues his research, he must consider what it means to preserve this sacred site from misuse and neglect.

The Boiling River is a fascinating story about one man’s discovery of this phenomenon that blends science with the Peruvian culture, as Ruzo provides plenty of photographic evidence to back up what he is documenting.

Originally written on March 3, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Boiling River from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Rivers of London: Body Work” by Ben Aaronovich & Andrew Cartmel, illustrated by Lee Sullivan (Titan Comics, 2016)

With six books now available in the popular and bestselling urban fantasy Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovich, the author turns to a different medium to tell a story set in his invented world. While other authors tend to adapt their novels into graphic novel format, Aaronovich just wants to tell a whole new story in Rivers of London: Body Work.

PC Peter Grant finds himself involved in an unusual case once again. It begins with a possessed car running amok, trying to kill people. Peter eventually discovers it’s something to do with a car part that is “haunted” and that there are various car parts out there also suffering these paranormal effects. Soon enough Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale joins him and they are on the hunt for the Most Haunted Car in England.

The graphic novel brings to life the book series, as readers get to see what the various characters look like, presumably from the author’s mind. New readers might want to start with the first book in the series, however the graphic novel does give details on the characters to clue readers in on who is who. Body Work is a great story to suck new readers into this incredible world and its amazing characters.

Originally written on March 22, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Rivers of London: Body Work from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.