December 14th, 2013


Book 223: The Lost Library by A. N. Dean

Book 223: The Lost Library (Dr. Emily Wess #1).
Author: A. N. Dean. 2012.
Genre: Conspiracy Fiction. Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 516 pages.

It is the day before Thanksgiving and Emily Wess, a young history professor at Carleton College, Minnesota, is looking forward to spending it with her fiancé and family. Reaching her office she receives the shocking news that Arno Holmstrand, the college's most eminent and famous scholar, had been found murdered in his office that morning. Then she finds a letter from Holmstrand in which he advises her that he is aware someone is going to kill him and that Emily is due to have "an important role in what comes next". It turns out that Holmstrand has spent his life guarding the whereabouts of the lost Library of Alexandria.

Emily is sent flying first to England and then to the Middle East deciphering clues left by Holmstrand. In pursuit are members of the Council, who are themselves seeking the library and about to hatch a plot that threatens the government at the highest level. They have a company of assassins at their beck and call, who leave plenty of bodies in their wake and Emily is on their radar.

This proved an entertaining thriller that was underpinned with strong historical research. It was fast-paced; almost too much so. Its lead character Emily was rushing from country to country with no sleep, apart from a few hours in an airport lounge, no food, drink or bathroom breaks or so it seemed. The baddies showed extreme ruthlessness, killing people right and left and centre, then were very sloppy in one key instance. Still, such unrealistic elements are often found in this kind of conspiracy thriller and I've certainly read more implausible ones.
  • maribou

Inappropriate Treehouse in my Soup; Half Monster Banjo Song

The 13-Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton
This is an extremely wacky metafictional book about not being able to write a book, pitched at 9-13 year olds. Adventures abound. I really dug it.

Tiger in my Soup, by Kashmira Set, illustrated by Jerry Ebbeler
Kid's picture book about a kid who needs his sister to read him a book. Balanced story, absolutely beautiful illustrations.

The Very Inappropriate Word, by Jim Tobin, illustrated by Dave Coverly
This one was really cute but the ending was TERRIBLE. It seemed to be aiming at adults, except it was teaching them a message that they would only need if they weren't the type of person to read the book in the first place. Which is too bad, because the story had potential and the illustrations were nifty.

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
I really really enjoyed this illustrated collection of essays, even though I read most of them on the internet already (some of them several times). Brosh is brave and hilarious.

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic, by Mark Tatulli
So fun. The only way I could have enjoyed this more is if I were still eleven.

Grass, Sky, Song, by Trevor Herriot
This book was about the songbirds on the Prairies. Or, really, about the LOSS of songbirds on the Prairies. So it was super-depressing. But also poetic, and well-characterized, and, above all, written in hope rather than in eulogy.

Cigar Box Banjo, by Paul Quarrington
Paul Quarrington started to write a book about music and then found out he had cancer. This is the last book he wrote before he died, and it's about both things. I absolutely loved it.
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    still watching Weeds (season 5)