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Archive for August, 2019

Free Book Friday!

Friday, August 30th, 2019

 

& Sons by David Gilbert

The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his two-hundred-word obit in The New York Times notwithstanding) but for the presence of one particular mourner: the notoriously reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel Ampersand stands as a classic of American teenage angst. But as Andrew Newbold Dyer delivers the eulogy for his oldest friend, he suffers a breakdown over the life he’s led and the people he’s hurt and the novel that will forever endure as his legacy. He must gather his three sons for the first time in many years — before it’s too late.

So begins a wild, transformative, heartbreaking week, as witnessed by Philip Topping, who, like his late father, finds himself caught up in the swirl of the Dyer family. First there’s son Richard, a struggling screenwriter and father, returning from self-imposed exile in California. In the middle lingers Jamie, settled in Brooklyn after his twenty-year mission of making documentaries about human suffering. And last is Andy, the half brother whose mysterious birth tore the Dyers apart seventeen years ago, now in New York on spring break, determined to lose his virginity before returning to the prestigious New England boarding school that inspired Ampersand. But only when the real purpose of this reunion comes to light do these sons realize just how much is at stake, not only for their father but for themselves and three generations of their family.

 

ISBN 9780812984354, Paperback

There are currently 19 Members Wishing for this book.

1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member in good standing to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 12 noon ET, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Mystery Monday Review – The Devil’s Disciple

Monday, August 12th, 2019

The Devil’s Disciple by Shiro Hamao

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This fictional work consists of two interesting stories that abound in mystery, murder and uncertainty. Nothing is what it seems. Hamao thinks the fact that motives are often impossible to identify limits our ability to a judge anybody with total confidence. In both of these dark short stories in the crime fiction genre, he presents first-person narratives of why a perp did what he did.

Writing between the wars in what the Japanese call the Taisho Era, Hamao was one of the first Japanese writers of modern detective fiction with elements of the police procedural. He covers the discovery of the crime and the processing of suspects in custody and charging them in court. He is blunt about the Japanese police using psychological coercion and violence to extract confessions, false and not.

Japanese critics say that Hamao was influenced by S. S. Van Dine. Perhaps. In both stories, the setting is the upper crust of Tokyo society. We see that Japanese millionaires don’t behave any better than they ought, just like our home-grown rich. Plus, the story is told from multiple points of view, one of which is a defense lawyer who brings logical reasoning to develop alternative theories as to whodunnit. Finally, one victim in the second story was just as arrogant and in as much need of a good kick in the pants as Philo Vance.

But there the cozyish atmosphere ends with these superficial resemblances. These stories include adultery, sado-masochistic sex, and passion gone dark and consuming. It also deals with intense male-male friendships that we see in Japanese fiction like Mishima’s The Mask. Plus, there is uneasiness about unbridled female sexuality as we read about in Tanizaki’s Naomi, written in the same era. Readers into Japan will like how motive is influenced by living in an honor-bound culture, but no anthropological knowledge of Japan is in fact required. Readers who like Erle Stanley Gardner’s shots at the shortcomings of the criminal justice system will see that Hamao is Gardner’s counterpart. I think if a reader of exotic crime fiction is in the mood for pulpy grotesquery, this is the ticket.

Hamao was a viscount. Despite his aristocratic origins, he was a brilliant student and took up law as a career. He became a prosecutor, but when he saw there was money in fiction-writing (newspapers would pay for serials), he became a full-time author. He brought a deep legal knowledge and extensive experience with people from all walks of life to his fiction. His health was delicate, however, and he died when he was only 40 years of age in 1935.

 

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

The Winner of the Brand-New Copy of

A Place Called Winter
by Patrick Gale is:

 

Christi T. (Christi)

 

Congratulations! Your Book will be on the way to you soon!

 

Thank you to everyone who entered!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday!

Friday, August 9th, 2019

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence – until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything. — Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.
In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.

 

ISBN 9781455594085, Paperback

There are currently  3 Members Wishing for this book.

1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member in good standing to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, August 11, 2019 at 12 noon ET, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Fiction Review – Where the Crawdads Sing

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Review by Mirah W (mwelday)

Recently a friend recommended Where the Crawdads Sing and since I was coming off a high of reading another great book (Searching for Sylvie Lee, you can find my review here), I was anxious for another great summer read. I ordered Where the Crawdads Sing so I could read it before I saw my friend during a visit last month and we could talk about it together.  And there was so much to talk about!

I relish great books that I feel like I can’t put down. You know the kind…the books that when you are not reading, you are thinking about the characters and need to know what happens next. I read Where the Crawdads Sing very quickly because I had to know what was going to happen, how it would end, and how the characters would fare.

Kya is known as the Marsh Girl. In her small NC town, she is an outsider. Raised in a shack on the marsh, her mother and siblings leave when she is just a small girl. With an alcoholic and abusive father, she survives by hiding amongst the trees and grasses of the marsh. She befriends Jumpin’, the man who runs a small store and gas station on the marsh where she can exchange mussels and smoked fish for goods. Kya spends her life on the marsh, growing up, finding beauty in the nature around her, and also finding love. When Chase Andrews is found dead, the Marsh Girl is seen as the most obvious villain. Kya and Chase do have a complicated history, but would she kill him? I won’t go into the story any further here, I don’t want to give anything away.

Owens has created a gem with this book.  Owens has also given me one of my favorite characters in recent memory. Jumpin’ is such a wonderfully created character, full of love, wit, and loyalty. His quiet strength and being on the periphery of Kya’s life, but also the stabilizing center for many years, makes him such a memorable character. HIs warmth and kindness provide a much needed balance to the derision Kya receives from most other people.  I would love a novel to learn more about Jumpin’, his family, and his struggles in the same time and town as Kya.

In a strange way, this novel to me is reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. I know that might not make a lot of sense, but Where the Crawdads Sing it is a Southern story of someone who is learning about herself while also just trying to get through every day while being misunderstood, even persecuted. I truly loved Where the Crawdads Sing and highly recommend it. It is even better if you read it with a friend so you can talk about it together; trust me, you will want to talk to someone about this book!

This debut fiction novel by Owens gets 5 out of 5 stars from me for a beautiful coming of age story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – What Happened at Hazelwood

Monday, August 5th, 2019

What Happened at Hazlewood by Michael Innes

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

This 1947 mystery does not feature Innes’ series hero John Appleby. However, the story is set in the same world of country houses, discreet if eccentric servants, and mad and bad squires.

The obligatory murder is only yet another atrocity is a series of past evil doings that are returning to haunt the present.

As in other Innes’ mystery novels, the ending so far-fetched as to preclude guessing and to leave us readers shaking our heads at the audacity of the writer to assume that we’ll think it credible. But we do and even find it fun.

Innes’ vocabulary and allusions to Anglophone literatures will please and puzzle us English majors. Finally, many references to things and people Australian will appeal to those interested in the Sunburnt Country.

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

The Winner of the Brand-New Copy of

Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell is:

 

Mary S. (mscottcgp)

Congratulations! Your Book will be on the way to you soon!

Thank you to everyone who entered!