Friday, April 22, 2011

New! Books! On! My! Shelf!

As you know, books arriving in my mailbox makes my mailbox happy. Here are a few of my recent arrivals:

Whole Bible Story, The: Everything That Happens in the Bible in Plain English
The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William H. Marty. This book was sent to me by the publisher (Bethany House... thanks!) and is a chronologically arranged retelling of all the narrative sections of the Bible. Basically, imagine someone sitting down and telling you, well, the whole Bible story.

Mama's Got a Fake I.D.: How to Reveal the Real You Behind all That Mom
Mama's Got a Fake I.D. by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira. This book was sent to me by the author, whose new book is coming out from my publisher (Tyndale House). As it turns out, Caryn and my wife Krista and I have a mutual and much beloved friend named Barb, which is cool. Caryn is a great writer whose books have a fun sense of humor and a lot of common sense answers to sticky questions. I haven't read this one completely yet, although the parts I've read are great. I have, however, read Caryn's next book, Grumble Hallelujah and it was excellent.

Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Oschner. I met Gina this year at the Portland Faith and Writer's conference and I really, really enjoyed our brief interactions. So of course I ran out and bought her book. I've just started it, but it's wonderful. Instead of trying to describe it, here's what Publisher Weekly had to say about it:

At the center of Flannery O'Conner Award–winning Ochsner's debut novel (after collection People I Wanted to Be) is a decaying five-story building in a Khrushchev-era slum whose residents navigate the absurdities of post-Soviet life by immersing themselves in dreams. There's Olga, a translator and sometimes censor at the Red Star; her idiot son, Yuri, who represses his memories of Chechnya with a perpetually worn Cosmonaut helmet; the bathroom-attendant Azade, who knows the dreams of others by the scent of their leavings; and Tanya, a hat-check girl at the All-Russia All-Cosmopolitan Museum of Art, who records her dreams of clouds and air travel in a notebook. When news arrives that the museum may be eligible for a grant, Tanya and Yuri are charged with forging works of art, like Peter the Great's fetus collection and a saintly halo. Meanwhile, Olga fears her son will be forced to fight again in Chechnya. Though Ochsner struggles in places to expand and sustain the energy of her short stories, the novel benefits from its relative plotlessness by granting a rare glimpse of buoyant inner worlds that flourish through the frost.

The Fifth Witness
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly. Any long time readers of the blog will know that I'm a big Connelly fan, and I can't stop myself from buying his books. I can't wait for paperback. He's one of two authors whose books I advance order in hardback and then torture myself by trying to decide when to read them after they arrive. This is another of Connelly's "Lincoln Lawyer" novels. In The Fifth Witness, the main character, Mickey Haller is back to his old tricks, getting called in as a defense lawyer on a case involving the murder of a crooked (?) mortgage banker.

Homemade Haunting: A Novel
Homemade Haunting by Rob Stennett. Homemade Haunting is the story of a washed up writer who wants to write a horror novel and discovers that he is a "method writer." He can't write about something he hasn't experienced. So he sets up shop in a "haunted" house and tries to do everything he can to come in contact with scary supernatural forces. I suspect he is going to succeed. The author and I have exchanged a few emails here and there, and Rob has graciously agreed to do an interview here at BHR once I read the book and send him some questions. If you'd like to send some questions, read the book and send them along.

Citizen Vince (P.S.)
Citizen Vince by Jess Walter. I'm always looking for some new, quality crime or hard boiled detective fiction. Someone suggested this book, and I blindly obeyed. It appears that this book is a love letter to Spokane (?!), a thriller about a guy getting chased by the cops, a mob boss and a hit man, and an exploration of the all-American tradition of trying to figure out who one should vote for in the Presidential election.

So... that's what's piled up in a tower on my bedside table. How about you? What are you reading? What's on the list for the near future?


  1. Matt! Hello!

    I'm reading (or about to read) Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother, That Hideous Strength, and Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl. Woo! Books!

  2. I just finished Vinegar Hill by A. Mansette Ansey (I don't recommend), am a third through Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. Am attempting a re-read of Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell and have started The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne.

  3. 1. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose - it's about Merriweather Lewis and Thomas Jefferson - I bought it for a buck at the Library

    2. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson- which apparently is under a bit of scrutiny and is partly fabricated. To avoid disappointment I will read the second half of the book with the mindset that it's a John Grisham novel

    3. The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anabywale - so far one of the best books I've read on the subject. Theologically strong and very informative.

    4. I just finished the 12th Imam by Joel Rosenberg. I haven't put it back on the bookshelf just yet. But I need to clear space for Night of the Living Dead Christians.

  4. I just finished Roald Dahl's autobiographical Boy--Tales of Childhood (which was rather heartbreaking) and Going Solo, which was possibly the most adventure-packed book I ever read, fiction or non.

    I too ran out and bought Gina Ochsner's novel right after the conference, but I haven't started it yet. It's my reward for finishing a project. That and Stephen King's On Writing, which is also in my stack.

  5. Hey Matt, glad you and Gina connected at the Faith & Culture Conference- It was great to have you both there as speakers- she is the next Flannery O'Connor- hey, I'd also read Gina's other books-the Necessary Grace to Fall and People I wanted to be-her short story collections...

    see you soon, writer friend, Cornelia

  6. I have read a few short stories by Gina O. from her two past books. Good storyteller! And I've meet her in person too at a few reading events. She's very gracious! Highly recommend her work too! Thanks for supporting her. :)