Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Alright, I'm over at Geek Buffet today, totally agreeing with Roger Sutton's controversial post. TOTALLY AGREEING. You can go read it and find out why and disagree with me over there.

But, in light of that, I thought I'd review adult books today.

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur Daoud Hari

Daoud Hari grew up in a village in Darfur. He went to college and then got a job in Libya. Lured by higher wages, he illegally crossed the border to find work in Egypt, then again to Israel, where he was caught.

When he made it back to Sudan, to Darfur, his people were under attack. Shortly after returning, his village was attacked and his brother killed. He fled with the other villagers to the refugee camps in Chad. Using is language skills of English, Arabic, and Zaghawa, Hari offered his skills as a translator to investigators and reporters.

He led 6 trips back to Sudan to help get the story of his homeland told to the wider world. Eventually, he was caught with a reporter and tried as a spy. American pressure to free the reporter freed him as well.

Hari writes a brutal account of Darfur, telling his story and many of the stoies he heard along the way. He makes an impassioned case for more help, and gives thanks for the help that has already been given. He also makes clear and concise work of an extremely complicated and nuanced political and cultural situation.

On sale March 18.

Full disclosure: ARC recieved from publisher through LibraryThing's early reviewer program.

Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen Annie Wang.

FINALLY! A "bad Chinese girl" novel that's well written!

Now, this doesn't take place in current boomtimes, but rather during the previous boomtime of Deng Xiaoping's newly opening China in the last 80s. (As the title gives away, it tends with the Tian'anmen Square massacre in June of 1989.)

Lili has just been released from jail, where she served three months for hooliganism. She's been a hooligan ever since she ran away from Monkey Village, where her parents were sent for reeducation during the Cultural Revolution. She joined a gang when she got to Nanjing. A man was stabbed to death over her.

Lili's a dissapointment to her parents, a wealth of wasted talent and unfulfilled promise. She moves in with a white guy who speaks flawless Chinese, but doesn't get China.

Part cultural exploration as Lili and Roy try to understand each other and their homelands, part self exploration as Lili tries to find meaning her life, Wang paints a stunning portrait of China on the verge of something massive. Fantastic!

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels Jasper Fforde.

Man alive, I read this one back in July. I also saw Fforde read the day after it came out-- hilarious!

So, this is the latest installment in the most excellent Thursday Next series.

It's been 16 years since Something Rotten. The literary crime unit has been disbanded, so Thursday and the crew are now carpet installers (of course, investigating literary crime on the side.) She also has a profitable sideline in cheese smuggling. Not that Landon knows any of this. In the land of JurisFiction, Thursday's gone through a rash of partners. Her last one is the worst though, as this last one is... herself. Only, it's her fictional self, who's just a little more rock and roll than Thursday actually is.

Her son Friday has shown no interest in joining the Chronoguard, which is throwing time seriously into whack. And Goliath is about to turn Pride and Prejudice into a reality show. Yep, the general public is about to vote the Bennets out of Longbourn, even before Mr. Collin's has it entailed onto him. But Thursday's not about to let that happen. Of course, she's having a much harder time book jumping these days...

Hilarious and awesome. If you like the series, READ IT. If you haven't read the series yet, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU? Pick up The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel today!

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