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May 26

Book: Murder by Candlelight

In the early nineteenth century, a series of murders took place in and around London which shocked the whole of England. The appalling nature of the crimes―a brutal slaying in the gambling netherworld, the slaughter of two entire households, and the first of the modern lust-murders―was magnified not only by the lurid atmosphere of an age in which candlelight gave way to gaslight, but also by the efforts of some of the keenest minds of the period to uncover the gruesomest details of the killings. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:48 PM - 3 comments

May 23

Book: The Five

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London—the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:56 PM - 2 comments

May 21

Book: Who Murdered Chaucer?

In this spectacular work of historical speculation Terry Jones investigates the mystery surrounding the death of Geoffrey Chaucer over 600 years ago. A diplomat and brother-in-law to John of Gaunt, one of the most powerful men in the kingdom, Chaucer was celebrated as his country's finest living poet, rhetorician and scholar: the preeminent intellectual of his time. And yet nothing is known of his death. In 1400 his name simply disappears from the record. We don't know how he died, where or when; there is no official confirmation of his death and no chronicle mentions it; no notice of his funeral or burial. He left no will and there's nothing to tell us what happened to his estate. He didn't even leave any manuscripts. How could this be? What if he was murdered?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:13 PM - 3 comments

Book: Rivers of London: Detective Stories

Four self-contained magical crimes, ripped from the streets of supernatural London! PC Peter Grant faces his grueling Detective exam, forcing him to relieve the strangest cases of his career. From foiling an aspiring god to confronting a Virtual Flasher, Peter's police history has been anything but conventional.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:37 AM - 6 comments

May 20

Book: Exhalation

In these nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories, Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine.
posted by komara at 11:44 AM - 3 comments

Book: Abbott

While investigating police brutality and corruption in 1970s Detroit, journalist Elena Abbott uncovers supernatural forces being controlled by a secret society of the city’s elite. By Saladin Ahmed, line art by Sami Kivelä, colors by Jason Wordie
posted by dinty_moore at 6:40 AM - 1 comment

May 19

Book: Death in the Air

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes. All across London, women were going missing--poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:04 PM - 1 comment

May 16

Book: A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression

The decade-long Great Depression, a period of shifts in the country’s political and social landscape, forever changed the way America eats. Before 1929, America’s relationship with food was defined by abundance. But the collapse of the economy, in both urban and rural America, left a quarter of all Americans out of work and undernourished—shattering long-held assumptions about the limitlessness of the national larder. In 1933, as women struggled to feed their families, President Roosevelt reversed long-standing biases toward government-sponsored “food charity.” For the first time in American history, the federal government assumed, for a while, responsibility for feeding its citizens. The effects were widespread. Championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, “home economists” who had long fought to bring science into the kitchen rose to national stature. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:58 PM - 7 comments

Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Jamaican author Marlon James’ epic fantasy novel, set in an imaginary land that draws from African placenames, languages, and mythos, is his followup to 2014’s Man Booker prizewinning “A Brief History of Seven Killings” and is intended as the first work in a trilogy. [more inside]
posted by mwhybark at 7:56 PM - 5 comments

May 15

Book: Something from the Oven

In this captivating blend of culinary history and popular culture, the award-winning author of Perfection Salad shows us what happened when the food industry elbowed its way into the kitchen after World War II, brandishing canned hamburgers, frozen baked beans, and instant piecrusts. Big Business waged an all-out campaign to win the allegiance of American housewives, but most women were suspicious of the new foods—and the make-believe cooking they entailed. With sharp insight and good humor, Laura Shapiro shows how the ensuing battle helped shape the way we eat today, and how the clash in the kitchen reverberated elsewhere in the house as women struggled with marriage, work, and domesticity. This unconventional history overturns our notions about the ’50s and offers new thinking on some of its fascinating figures, including Poppy Cannon, Shirley Jackson, Julia Child, and Betty Friedan
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:10 PM - 2 comments

May 14

Book: Rivers of London: Black Mould

Peter Grant is a cop and part-time wizard investigating London's 'Falcon' crimes--those that are outside the realms of normal criminal investigations--and more into the realms of trolls under bridges, cursed crime scenes, and the ghosts of monsters past. Peter never saw himself in pest control--but that's exactly where he finds himself when a killer, sentient, living fungus goes on a rampage of vengeance using its victims' worst fears against them!
posted by dinty_moore at 7:03 AM - 6 comments

Book: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

At a time when it looks like we may be here to experience a real post-apocalyptic world, this richly realized picture of earth about a century after the fall of humanity is a compelling setting for what is ultimately a hopeful and uplifting novel. [more inside]
posted by COD at 5:55 AM - 2 comments

May 13

Book: Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity's ancestral habitat. She's spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:21 AM - 5 comments

May 10

Book: The Chimp and the River

The real story of AIDS―how it originated with a virus in a chimpanzee, jumped to one human, and then infected more than 60 million people―is very different from what most of us think we know. Recent research has revealed dark surprises and yielded a radically new scenario of how AIDS began and spread. Excerpted and adapted from the book Spillover, with a new introduction by the author, Quammen's hair-raising investigation tracks the virus from chimp populations in the jungles of southeastern Cameroon to laboratories across the globe, as he unravels the mysteries of when, where, and under what circumstances such a consequential "spillover" can happen. An audacious search for answers amid more than a century of data, The Chimp and the River tells the haunting tale of one of the most devastating pandemics of our time.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:43 PM - 1 comment

Book: Rabbit

Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work: You want to know about the struggle of growing up poor, black and female? Ask any girl from any hood. You want to know what it takes to rise above your circumstances when all the cards are stacked against you? Ask me. [more inside]
posted by rue72 at 11:23 AM - 1 comment

May 9

Book: The Taste of Conquest

The smell of sweet cinnamon on your morning oatmeal, the gentle heat of gingerbread, the sharp piquant bite from your everyday peppermill. The tales these spices could tell: of lavish Renaissance banquets perfumed with cloves, and flimsy sailing ships sent around the world to secure a scented prize; of cinnamon-dusted custard tarts and nutmeg-induced genocide; of pungent elixirs and the quest for the pepper groves of paradise. The Taste of Conquest offers up a riveting, globe-trotting tale of unquenchable desire, fanatical religion, raw greed, fickle fashion, and mouthwatering cuisine–in short, the very stuff of which our world is made. In this engaging, enlightening, and anecdote-filled history, Michael Krondl, a noted chef turned writer and food historian, tells the story of three legendary cities–Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam–and how their single-minded pursuit of spice helped to make (and remake) the Western diet and set in motion the first great wave of globalization. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:49 PM - 1 comment

May 7

Book: Rivers of London Vol. 2

Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt his missing daughter, PC Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London's only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis: The Faceless Man. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems!
posted by dinty_moore at 4:48 AM - 4 comments

May 6

Book: The Grace of Kings

Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom at 11:00 PM - 5 comments

Book: The Long Ships

It is the year 1000 and Red Orm, a native of Scania, goes a-viking. This book of historical fiction follows Orm's adventures through the life of Europe in the later Viking Age, from Andalusia to Denmark to Ireland to England, all against the backdrop of pragmatic Norse paganism's encounters with Islam and creeping Christianisation.
In my career as a reader I have encountered only three people who knew The Long Ships, and all of them, like me, loved it immediately. Four for four: from this tiny but irrefutable sample I dare to extrapolate that this novel, first published in Sweden during the Second World War, stands ready, given the chance, to bring lasting pleasure to every single human being on the face of the earth. -- from the Introduction by Michael Chabon

posted by fleacircus at 9:01 PM - 7 comments

Book: The Coming Plague

Where's your next disease coming from? From anywhere in the world--from overflowing sewage in Cairo, from a war zone in Rwanda, from an energy-efficient office building in California, from a pig farm in China or North Carolina. "Preparedness demands understanding," writes Pulitzer-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, and in this precursor to Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health, she shows a clear understanding of the patterns lying beneath the new diseases in the headlines (AIDS, Lyme) and the old ones resurgent (tuberculosis, cholera). As the human population explodes, ecologies collapse and simplify, and disease organisms move into the gaps. As globalization continues, diseases can move from one country to another as fast as an airplane can fly.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:35 PM - 2 comments

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