Archive for January, 2011

January 27, 2011

Bookbyte: Chuck Palahniuk’s Diary

 

Chuck Palahniuk, bestselling author of Fight Club, Choke, and Lullaby (to name a few), continues his 21st century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at our quest for some sort of immortality.

Diary takes the form of a “coma diary,” kept by one Misty Wilmot as her husband, Peter Wilmot, lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt. Once she was an aspiring art student, but now after marrying Peter and moving to the once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she’s been reduced to the condition of hotel maid.

But then, as if possessed, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. But can her newly discovered talent be part of a larger, darker plan?

Of course it can…

Diary is a dark, hilarious, and poignant act of storytelling from America’s favorite, most inventive nihilist. Palahniuk has struck literary gold with Diary. He weaves a tale so taut you have to remind yourself to breathe.

— Emma

January 27, 2011

Bookbyte: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard

Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce mystery, A Red Herring Without Mustard, hits bookshelves on Feb. 8. While eagerly anticipating the latest installment in this exciting new series, I recommend Bradley’s previous Flavia mystery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, and not just because it has a snappier title.

Flavia de Luce hit the literary scene in 2009 with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Bradley, a Canadian, has created a fresh, smart character and a living, breathing little world.

In Bag,¬†Flavia, an eleven-year-old chemistry enthusiast, lives in the 1950s English town of Bishop’s Lacey. With the help of her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia tries to solve the murder of a famous puppeteer who has been electrocuted on-stage. Flavia’s sharp tongue tends to get her into more trouble than the average eleven-year-old roaming the English countryside might find herself in, but her smarts and knowledge of poisons always gets her out.

Bradley’s writing is witty and the mystery moves at a brisk place. Bag takes Flavia to darker places than Pie does, but the result is a stronger, more compelling work than Bradley’s debut. Here’s hoping Flavia’s third outing is even stronger.

— Chance