“Future Arctic: Field Notes From a World on the Edge” by Edward Struzik (Island Press, 2015)

Future Arctic
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“Just the tip of the iceberg” is a painfully apropos metaphor for the state of climate change and how the Arctic and Antarctic zones of the planet serve as a sort of scrying stone for what the future may hold. While some evidence may be hard to come by for the current state of the world, what is happening in the Arctic is undeniable fact melting before our very eyes.

Edward Struzik is a hardcore explorer and journalist who has traveled across the limits of the Arctic and in Future Arctic paints a very moving picture about where it is headed. Along with plenty of research about the state of things, Struzik also provides lots of anecdotal evidence from the native peoples of the region recounting how their world has changed. The author even travels far into the past to a time when the region was warmer and how its flora and fauna fared.

Future Arctic is certainly bleak at points, but also enlightening as Struzik analyzes various possibilities about how the Arctic will appear transformed by climate change and what it means for the rest of the growingly fragile planet.

Originally written on March 18, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Future Arctic from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Hansel and Gretel” by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti (Toon Books, 2014)

Hansel & Gretel
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We’ve heard the story of the siblings Hansel and Gretel told numerous times throughout our childhood, often in slightly different versions, and often vastly different from that first version recorded by the Brothers Grimm long ago. And now bestselling author Neil Gaiman, of Neverwhere and American Gods, joins forces with talented artist Lorenzo Mattotti to provide a new telling for an old favorite fable.

You can tell from the opening lines that you’re reading another great Neil Gaiman story, as he does a great job of providing some back story to that of Hansel and Gretel , of the struggles their family has gone through and why their mother and father are looking to get rid of them. Eventually they end up lost deep in the woods and stumble upon a house made of gingerbread and candy. You know the rest of the story.

The artwork, which is on every other double page, is not your usual pretty fairytale scenes, but done in harsh black ink with sketchings and shadings that lend a tone that hasn’t really been seen with the story since the original Grimm telling. It is a powerful artwork that adds greatly to the story and keeps the reader fully engrossed. At the end of the book is a brief history of the story, enlightening the reader on its various changes and versions over time.

Originally written on January 1, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Hansel and Gretel from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Little Libraries, George R.R. Martin Goes Retro For HBO, Top 11 Children’s Books & More!

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The nominations for the 2015 Hugo Awards are out and already stirring up quite a bit of ire.
Ten things you can do when visiting your favorite bookstore.
Little libraries seem to be taking the world by storm and are popping up everywhere.

“The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Eddie Campbell (William Morrow, 2014)

Truth is a Cave in teh Black Mountains
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Neil Gaiman’s novelette “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” was originally published in the collection Stories: All New Tales edited by Gaiman, which went on to win an award. It is now reprinted and made available in this beautifully illustrated and collectible version. This four-color edition is illustrated by renowned artist, Eddie Campbell.

It is the moving story of one man’s journey with an untrustworthy guide in search of a specific cave in the black mountains of Scotland where they hope to find gold. Along the way they meet some strange characters and face daunting odds. Told with the powerful, haunting words of Gaiman showing his talent for the craft, the illustrations help to make the story fuller and more complete. Sometimes the illustrations show small scenes of the ongoing story, other times they simply add to the feel and emotion of the page. A mixture of media and color help to enhance the story and make a journey for the reader also.

Originally written on August 1, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Stranger” by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2014)

Stranger
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Welcome to the quaint little town of Las Anclas, located on the edge of nowhere. It’s a frontier town with high surrounding walls and guards constantly watching from above. Interestingly, those guards are all ages from teenagers to adults, and they all look like they know how to handle those weapons they’re carrying.

In this harsh world, places like Las Anclas are necessary refuges. You’re either a normal human or a mutant who is “Changed,” giving you special powers and abilities. There are those who will respect you for being different and others who will despise you, even inside those safe town walls, so watch your back.

Ross Juarez has just escaped death from a bounty hunger and the lethally dangerous crystalline trees and has made it to Las Anclas, seeking refuge. There he will make friends, but also enemies. He is also in possession of a special ancient book written in a language he can’t read.

Stranger is one of the few post-apocalyptic young adult books to earn its place next to Hunger Games. The diversity of the cast make this made-up world a completely believable one. The science fiction elements leave you shivering with fright, but also wanting to understand more. By the end of the book, you’ll be looking for the sequel; fortunately there is one.

Originally written on March 19, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Stranger from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book Report: A Taste of George R.R. Martin, Checking into The Overlook, Gritty Fantasy & More!

76971-bookreporttelander

Winds of Winter Excerpt 
George R. R. Martin has released an excerpt from his forthcoming Song of Ice and Fire book.

If You Like The Walking Dead 
Now that The Walking Dead is done for another season, you’ll be yearning for some new zombie-related material.

Reading Habits
A recent detailed survey from Book Riot on people’s reading habits.

[read more . . .]

“The Living Years: The First Genesis Memoir” by Mike Rutherford (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015)

Living Years
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Perhaps the most exciting thing about The Living Years, other than the kickass cover, is the subtitle: “the first Genesis memoir,” which hopefully is more than an advertising ploy, but a foreshadowing of future biographies to come. The book is only 250 odd pages long, which is kind of an ideal length for a music biography, as Rutherford doesn’t spend too long waffling on about old stories that just loose the reader.

The Living Years is a biography of the founding member and eventual lead guitarist of Genesis, Mike Rutherford, but it is also his introspection into his father’s life and career, which he didn’t really know about until his father passed away. Hence, the title – if you know the Mike + the Mechanics song – is perfectly fitting.

Rutherford begins with his birth and upbringing and then his meeting friendships with some teen musicians at Charterhouse. He then takes the reader in a complete overview career of Genesis, touching on each album, and paying attention to each band member leaving and what effect it had on both the band and himself. Throughout the book he includes short paragraphs from his father’s journal looking at where Rutherford’s and his father’s life and career crossed over in a way.

The Living Years is a great read. Rutherford has an enjoyable easy-going voice that immediately engrosses you. The chapters are nice and short and the story moves along at a good clip, not giving the reader a chance to get bored. But Mike also has plenty of stories and anecdotes to tell and doesn’t hold back when it comes to commentary on “drugs and rock’n’roll.”  Rutherford has no reservations, telling it as it is, in this fascinating look at one of the biggest rock acts in the history of music.

Originally written on March 23, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Get in Trouble from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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