(Staff Favorites) Mark’s Picks
Luke Ellis is a gifted child. Extraordinarily intelligent, Luke has been accepted to both MIT and Emerson…at just 12 years old. Luke’s gifts don’t stop with his intelligence, however. Luke can also make small objects move without touching them- the gift of telekinesis. Though Luke’s telekinetic powers are weak and mostly beyond his own control, they can be harnessed and fortified. This is the work of The Institute. Luke and thousands of other children across the country with similar powers are abducted by The Institute and made to participate in their tests and activities, all of which is “for the greater good”. As diabolical as King has been since Doctor Sleep, The Institute shines with King’s masterful storytelling and character building. Fans of classic King novels rejoice.
THE TALE OF THE DUELING NEUROSURGEONS
Like the abyssal depths of the oceans or the dark recesses of interstellar space, the human brain is home to a scattering of undiscovered peculiarities and mysteries. Just as important as brain function, brain dysfunction provides an intimate insight into the delicate balance of intricacies necessary to keep a human being within the bounds of sanity. But to study brain dysfunction requires the presence of brain dysfunction. Author Sam Kean chronicles with brilliant clarity the history of our understanding of the human brain’s darkest, most disturbing and most revealing moments and how they’ve contributed to the development and application of neuroscience.
EDGAR AND LUCY
Edgar, a child of just eight, is peculiar in many ways, his albinism only the icing on the cake. Lucy, his mother by title only, is what you might call “a hot mess”. Florence, owner of their house at 21 Cressida Drive, is the grandmother and primary caretaker to Edgar, but to Lucy only a Step-Mother with whom she shares a contemptuous, often hostile relationship. Each is troubled in their own way. “There was always a war at 21 Cressida Drive”, a war between personalities, fueled by a lack of communication and prolonged by the closure that never came for a convoluted past, pieces of which are revealed as they pave the way towards an even more convoluted future. Charming and delightful, with dialogue so natural it seems familiar, Edgar and Lucy will grip you like few others can.
Things are finally looking up for recently divorced cancer survivor Rachael Klein when her daughter, Kylie, is kidnapped in broad daylight. But this is no ordinary kidnapping, this is a link in The Chain. In order to get Kylie back Rachel must pay a ransom of $25,000, but that’s the easy part. She must also kidnap a child, contact the parents and force them to do just as she did- pay a ransom and kidnap a child. Not until her target completes their kidnapping will Kylie be returned to her. She must then wait for her target’s target to kidnap another child before she can return the child she kidnapped, thus preserving The Chain. How far are you willing to go for your child? How quickly will you abandon your morality when put in a life or death situation? Who is controlling The Chain? Rachael Klein has these questions answered for her in this diabolical, fast-paced novel that begs to be read in one sitting. This is Not Your Father’s Thriller Novel.
THE MOUNTAINS SING
Nguyen Phan Que Mai
The country of Vietnam has been subject to warfare and foreign invasion for over a century. Long before America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict, the country was under French rule for almost 70 years, ending in 1954, after which a conflict with Japan and involvement in the civil wars of two neighboring countries (Laos and Cambodia) immediately followed. The Mountains Sing follows a North Vietnamese family and their multi-generational struggle for happiness, normalcy and safety in a country perpetually mired in violent conflict. Vivid, heart-breaking and full of Vietnamese cultural norms, the story is narrated by both the youngest and the oldest members of the Tran family as together they presevere through the horrors of war while holding tightly to their hopes their family can reunite and thrive once again.