July 2010 Archives

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

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Click for availability and more informationThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, by Alan Moore


Originally published as a six-issue serial in 1999-2001, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume One) is a compelling and exciting graphic novel, centering on a "Justice League"-like super group of classic literary heroes from the 19th century. Written by Alan Moore (Watchmen; V For Vendetta) and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, League focuses on the formation of the title group and their first mission to protect England from horrible disaster. In 1898, on orders from British Intelligence, now-elderly adventurer Allan Quartermain (H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines & other novels), Mina Harker (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Captain Nemo (Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea), Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Henry Jekyll (and friend), and H. G. Wells' "The Invisible Man", band together to retrieve a rare element (discovered in Wells' novel The First Men in the Moon) from a mysterious Asian crime lord (unnamed due to legal reasons, but clearly Sax Rohmer's "Dr. Fu Manchu"). But the League quickly discovers that another infamous evil mastermind (readers of Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Final Problem" will know who) has plans to use this element to destroy the Asian criminal and his organization, as well as most of London in the process. Will the League be able to overcome their differences and prevent a potential tragedy? At time dark and grim, but with generous bits of black humor, League is a thrill ride from beginning to end. Moore and O'Neill convey a creepy atmosphere while deftly juggling various characters and concepts along the way, they expand the individual back stories of the protagonists. The Invisible Man is now even more depraved than he had been in Wells' original novel; Dr. Jekyll's alter ego Mr. Hyde has become as big and strong as The Incredible Hulk; and Mina Harker must overcome nasty slurs from the various male characters regarding her sex and situation (things ended badly after the events with Count Dracula) to lead the team in reaching their objective. Add to this mix some great anachronisms like "airships" and cameos by other famous 19th century literary figures (Pollyanna?!?), and the result is a terrific adventure thriller that pays tribute to its sources while presenting them in a more contemporary shade.
-Ed

Cutting for Stone

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Click for availability and more information Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
 
What pure reading pleasure awaits those who start Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese! This is a wonderfully written and totally engaging story by a writer who is a terrific story teller. His strongly drawn characters are mostly all involved in the practice of medicine in a small hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both worlds come vividly alive as the reader can become totally immersed in the medical issues facing the small staff at Missing Hospital. At the same time, the Ethiopia in the last years of the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie and the succeeding governments is, probably for most readers, a little-known setting and Verghese's wonderfully descriptive writing creates an interesting world in which so much of his story occurs. The main characters are twin boys, Marion and Shiva Stone, who are born to an Indian nun, who is a nursing assistant at Missing Hospital. Their lives are intertwined with medicine, the political developments of Ethiopia once Haile Selassie is disposed in a coup in 1974, and their personal struggles to deal with, among other issues, an absent birth-father and their professional development as medical practitioners. Cutting for Stone is an absorbing and wonderful book that is highly recommended.
-Roy

First Light

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Click for availability and more information First Light, by Rebecca Stead
 
From the Newberry Winner of When You Reach Me. First Light is the story of 12 year-old Peter who travels with his parents from New York City to Greenland where his father is doing research. But Peter discovers there is more to the research than he is told, and secrets to be solved above and below the ice in Greenland.
-Deirdre

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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