Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Release Tuesday

Today's two biggest releases could hardly be more different from one another.

Lee Child's Jack Reacher--loner, perpetual traveler, hero of all fifteen of Child's novels--is the baddest of bad asses. Need an example of how much of a bad ass Reacher is? In Gone Tomorrow he's knocked out not once but twice by a megadose of large animal tranquilizer, and wakes up to kick the asses of all of his captors before escaping. When Reacher comes to town trouble inevitably finds him. Dead bodies pile up. There are explosions. And, more often than not, one lucky lady who's hotter than she or anyone else around her realizes gets to hang with Reacher before he inevitably leaves town (which will be sooner, not later). This is Lee Child's first instance of publishing two books in one year. The blogosphere is digging it.  Pop Culture Nerd's verdict is that Worth Dying For is "Worth the price," while Crime and Publishing calls it "An absolutely brilliant book." On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly gave it a C and proclaimed it, "an uncharacteristic dud."

In the Company of Others is the second Father Tim novel by Jan Karon, author of the popular Mitford series of gentle Christian fiction. Niceness and Christian values are the hallmarks of Karon's work, and Christianbook.com calls this one, "a compelling page turner that readers will find deeply affecting.

I can't quote numbers, of course, but by the time I had left the store at 3 p.m. today sales of Jan Karon were outpacing Lee Child nicely. My prediction is that those numbers will be neatly reversed by the weekend.

Connie Willis' All Clear is, as she puts it, "the second half of a book.  Blackout is the first half.  They're not two books, or a book and a sequel, or the first two installments of an endless series.  They're one book--Blackout-All Clear." I'm not sure why this is so important but hey--it's her book. Either way, over the course of her career Connie Willis has built up an interesting body of work, much of which involves time-travel out of Oxford. LibraryThing user elvisettey says about All Clear, "Rich in detail, rich in mining the questions of what weighs on a person's conscience, rich in bringing the past to life, All Clear is a captivating read that will bring both the past and the future to life for you."

Against All Things Ending by Stephen R. Donaldson is the latest of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a long, long series about a temporally challenged leper who has, apparently, to save the world. Those who know, know.

A couple of entries from the world of religion. Why He is a Saint make the case for canonization of Pope John Paul II, while What Good is God? examines the practical value of a belief in God.

Other titles of note: Compass Rose by John Casey, Driving on the Rim by Thomas McGuane, The Bible Code 3, and yet another entry in the litany of Obama-bashing "political biographies," Radical-in-Chief by Stanley Kurtz.

Update: Reader, friend, and fellow blogger Enrique Freeque of Enrique Freeque's Forum gives thumbs up to at least the first couple of Thomas Covenant books by Stephen R. Donaldson, as well as suggesting some meaty and thought-provoking Christian literature. You can check out the titles below.



EnriqueFreeque said...

Interesting New Release Tuesday.

Okay, I'm in the former-know of Stephen R. Donaldson. I read the first Thomas Covenant trilogy hot on the heels of my first Lord of the Rings reading (I know how much you love LOR, so I had to mention it) in '84-'85. Lord Foul's Bane & The Illearth War were spectacular; I thought the third one dropped off, and so I never got around to the third in the first trilogy, nor the second trilogy (though I owned them!)

Philip Yancey! I read The Jesus I Never Knew and Where is God When It Hurts shortly after learning that our daughter had Down syndrome, and found them comforting in light of what was some devastating, dream-destroying news at the time. People who can relate to Yancey I think would also find Peter Kreeft's, Making Sense Out of Suffering and C.S. Lewis' classic, The Problem of Pain helpful too. All of these writers examine the biggest stumbling block to Judeo-Christian faith: How an all good, loving, powerful God, can allow evil and human suffering in the world and yet still (for the faithful) be called all good, all loving, and all powerful.

'pologies for such a long comment, but seeing that Yancey, wow, whom I haven't thought of in a good decade, brought back some faith(ful) book memories ...

p.s. R.C. Sproul's Surprised by Suffering was worthwhile too ...

Rebecca Glenn said...

EF--thanks for the comment, and especially for the recommendations. I think I might make another widget for related recommendations...'cause the widgets get me so much action--oh wait, not they don't. But they're so cool...


Dizzy C said...

I have an award for u!


Jon said...

Hi Rebecca.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting this morning.
I SOOOO wanted to buy a copy of the latest Reacher novel when I was at Hastings on Tuesday, but managed to control my base impulses. Loved your review of Gone Tomorrow. Following you now.
@EF - I worked my way through the entire Thomas Covenant series, and it never really got much better. Yancey is good, Sproull is good, but Lewis was THE MASTER.