I'm still trying to catch up on 2012 reads, but 2013 is already shaping up to be an impressive year! Historical fiction looks particularly strong for January and February, with authors exploring unique tales and situations outside of the usual historical fiction suspects (royalty, war, etc). Dog fans are also in for a treat with two tantalizing selections. This is what I'm eagerly awaiting:
Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent
Armchair travelers and adventurers will undoubtedly want to read this look at this profile of Antarctica. From the history of the continent to current challenges facing the mighty Antarctica, Gabrielle Walker personally guides readers through this fascinating land. Kirkus hailed this as "riveting" and "a rollicking good read."
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think
If you read enough dog books or watch a variety of programs about dogs, you frequently run into the theory that domesticated dogs are basically tame juvenile wolves, and that early humans domesticated friendly wolves who hung around their camps, looking for scraps. Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods have posited that wolves were more active in their own domestication than previously thought; they also examine dogs' communication skills, empathy levels, and their task solving capabilities. Publishers Weekly praised this "scientific study that doubles as a warmhearted tribute to man's best friend."
Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs
Ted Kerasote's magnificent Merle's Door: Lessons From a Freethinking Dog is one of the most thought-provoking, challenging, inspirational, and heartbreaking books ever written about a dog. Gutted by the loss of young Merle, Kerasote set out to discover why, in the presence of veterinary medicine, most dogs decline and die in their teens (while some purebreds don't even reach 10 years). Kerasote traveled around the States and Europe discussing breeding, the dog food industry, living conditions, animal shelters, and more. This is receiving stellar reviews: "a tour de force in canine appreciation" (Kirkus Reviews) and "heartbreaking, funny, and informative" (Publishers Weekly).
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
I am instantly drawn to historical fiction set outside the United States and Europe, so this novel set in 1980s Iran immediately caught my attention. Saba assumes that her missing twin sister and father have immigrated to the United States; as she matures, she is caught in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. "Lyrical, humane, and hopeful," according to Kirkus Reviews.
Above All Things
Tanis Rideout reimagines British explorer George Mallory's third and final attempt to scale Mount Everest. This first novel by this Canadian poet is an "intimate, haunting, and luminous novel that is at once an adventure, a love story, and an interrogation (Library Journal)."
The Painted Girls
Although ballet flourished in late 19th century France, the reality of the ballerinas' lives was often dark and troubling. Based on the life of Marie vaan Goethem, the young model for Degas's Little Dancer statue, The Painted Girls is already receiving attention from Entertainment Weekly and NPR. I've been wanting more ballet historical fiction ever since I read The Master's Muse; this sounds fantastic!
This is just a sample of the books that we have received this month or have ordered; for a complete review, you should subscribe to our weekly Wowbrary newsletter (which also lists the latest DVDs, ebooks, CDs, and audiobooks).