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Air date: August 27, 2023
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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the Assistant Director of Collection Services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.
Today's reading recommendations include a tale of deception, and a scientific look at creatures from long ago.
First, we’ll hear from acquisitions assistant Kerry for a dose of questionable morality. Take it away, Kerry.
If you’re looking for a character-driven story and tense, psychological writing, the interior monologue style of Emma Cline’s new novel The Guest is the right fit for you.
Cline’s main character, Alex, is a bit of a “talented Mr. Ripley” type; she’s an outsider trying to secure a place among the rich and powerful on the East End of Long Island. (Think Gatsby’s neighborhood.) Alex’s life is a strange contrast of high and low motivations and a surprising demonstration of boundaries that are dangerously unclear. In her search for a shortcut to the lush life, Alex dedicates herself to the lies and manipulations that will get her what she wants. Still, we are drawn in to her marginal existence and invested in her survival, especially when that survival is very much in question.
The suspense here is subtle, organic, nuanced. Alex walks a fine line, often overlooking how serious her situation is, and how risky her decisions turn out to be. I love when an author shows me something different, unusual, and gripping in their writing and characterization. Emma Cline’s writing is compelling, detailed, and powerful.
Thanks, Kerry! I expect to see The Guest on all of the Best Books of the Year lists, so grab it now before everyone else discovers it.
Next, let’s hear from Alexander, library associate at the Darrington Library, who will take us WAY back in time. Go ahead, Alexander.
“The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” by Steve Brusatte is like reading an Attenborough nature documentary. This is no dull textbook, but popular science at its best, driven by Brusatte’s passion & expertise.
The author weaves the telling of the age of dinosaurs with the narrative of his own life as a paleontologist. For example, as Brusatte describes the rise of the dinosaurs from among other ancient animals, he shares through the lens of his early-career study of fossilized footprints.
This book does more than bring dinosaurs to life on the page: the author introduces the tools and methods of inquiry scientists have used to build our current understanding of the past in a way that laypersons can comfortably follow.
He ties the historical narrative into the real life work he and other paleontologists are doing to understand these creatures and the harsh world which influenced their development into such diverse forms.
And who isn’t here for amazing dinosaur facts?! How the challenges of being history’s largest land animals were overcome, how scientists found physical evidence of what color some dinosaurs might have been, how modern birds have a unique respiratory system that many dinosaurs shared, and how crocodiles almost beat out dinosaurs as the dominant reptiles of the ancient world!
For all the grown-up “dinosaur kids” out there, this is definitely one to seek out!
Thanks, Alexander! Pro tip-- if you listen to the audiobook version, you won’t have to guess how to pronounce the Latin names of the animals, the narrator has already figured it out.
Our recommendations this week are: "The Guest” by Emma Cline and “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” by Steve Brusatte.
Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.
Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.
Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.
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