September has brought us a literary feat, a new perspective on data collection and a kids’ book with a clever role reversal. Enjoy!
The Literary Buzz Book: “The Bone Clocks,” by David Mitchell (release date: Sept. 2, 2014)
“The Bone Clocks,” by The New York Times best-selling author of “Cloud Atlas,” is one of 13 novels long-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. It is an extraordinary work that has the all-too-rare combination of intellectual ambition, literary excellence and brilliant storytelling.
It is the story of Holly Sykes, a sensitive child once contacted by voices she called “the radio people.” As a 15-year-old runway youth, visions, coincidences and phenomenon start to reorder her reality and render her an unwitting player in a murderous feud being played out on the margins of our world.
There is a rich cast of characters whose stories interlock with Holly’s in moments of everyday grace, wonder and wit, and through it all, Mitchell fluently mixes realism, the supernatural, social satire and human heartbreak in this genre-bending piece of literature.
Mitchell has received staggering praise for his sixth novel, with critics calling it nothing short of genius.
The Tech/Data Buzz Book: “Dataclysm: Who We Are…When We think No One’s Looking,” by Christian Rudder (release date: Sept. 9, 2014)
Rudder, co-founder of the online dating site OKCupid, has been in charge of its analytics and data collection from the beginning, and with more than 10 million users this year (and data from additional dating sites like Match.com, etc.), he has plenty to share.
He lists several sets of collected data that he believes illustrates what people do in the absence of social pressure to behave a certain way: what they do when no one is looking. Issues of race, gender and social position loom large, but every bit of raw data seems to evoke an “a-ha” moment.
This is a new take on the information age — numbers as fascinating narrative — by a mathematician who gives us the facts and leaves us, for the most part, to draw our own conclusions.
This is the most unique take on popularized data yet — “the beginning of a revolution.”
The Kids’ Picture Buzz Book: “Uni the Unicorn,” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (ages 3-7)
This is a picture book with the sweetest of role reversals. In this clever twist on the age-old belief that there’s no such thing as unicorns, Uni the Unicorn is told there’s no such thing as little girls. But Uni believes that little girls are real.
This refreshing and sweet story of friendship reminds readers that sometimes wishes really can come true.
JOANN MORENO is a community bookseller. To comment on this column, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.