Reviewed by Clive Cussler
The Chase by Clive Cussler is the first title in the Isaac Bell series. Isaac is a detective with the Van Dorn Detective agency, in pursuit of a devious bank robber. The villain uses elaborate disguises and leaves no clues to his identity. He also insures that there are no survivors after each robbery. The Chase takes Bell all through the west during the early twentieth century.
Clive Cussler has also written several non-fiction and children’s books. Common characteristics of Cussler’s books are detailed setting descriptions, and action and adventure. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction would enjoy this series.
Available at TCPL: Book | Book on CD
Reviewed by Brenda Brewster
Big Fish, A Novel of Mythic Proportions is a complex story involving relationships and tall tales.
Edward Bloom is a joker and a storyteller who has never allowed anyone to really know him. Now, as he lies dying, his son, Will Bloom, wants more than anything to figure out just who his father is. Edward Bloom admits he was an absentee father who spent most of his time away from his wife and son trying to be a great man, a good provider, and someone of whom his son could be proud. The problem is Will does not know his father. Whenever he tries to get information from him, Will gets jokes and tall tales! Will is desperate to become closer to his father before it is too late.
Big Fish was written in 1998 and later became a well-known movie. As with most books, most people feel like the book is better than the movie. Barter Theatre, in Abingdon is presenting this book as a play during their spring 2016 season. Reading the book first will allow you to have a better understanding of what is happening in this complex, but fascinating story.
Available at TCPL: Large Print Book
Reviewed by Circulation Specialist Kimberly Alcorn-Howell
This is a very short book written by Jon Krakauer about Chris McCandless, the young man who traveled to Alaska in the summer of 1992 and was found dead by a moose hunter four months later. The story of McCandless is fascinating – he has just graduated from college, he’s incredibly bright, and has very high prospects for the future. But then another side of McCandless begins to emerge – the edgy, discontented side that wants nothing to do with his family or with the modern world in general. He has an adventurous spirit, an unquenchable wanderlust that causes him to travel the United States and bounce from one job to the next, but there is also something darker under the surface. Chris McCandless is restless, incredibly cynical of civilization and humanity itself, and he is ready to travel to the edges of the world in an attempt to shake everything off and reinvent himself.
After graduating from Emory University with excellent grades and honors, Chris McCandless cuts all ties with his family, donates his entire $24,000 savings to charity, and then begins his journey west and, eventually, north to the “last frontier.” He travels by car, train, hitchhiking, canoe, and walking until he finally reaches his destination of Fairbanks, Alaska. From there, he disappears into the Alaskan wilderness in search of the untouched, uninhabited space he needs to clear his mind and really live off the land.
Four months after disappearing, his body is found partially decomposed by a moose hunter.
What fascinated me about the book was Krakauer’s attempt to pinpoint why, exactly, Chris McCandless felt the need to leave his life and possessions behind and live by himself in the extreme wilderness. Another mystery the author explores is how McCandless actually died. All of the theories, perspectives, and conclusions about why McCandless did what he did and what his last few days were like are simultaneously interesting and heartbreaking; he was a passionate person with extreme ideals and intense emotions who met a very unfortunate end.
If you’re interested in reading more about Chris McCandless, check out The Wild Truth, written by Chris’ sister, Carine McCandless. Other books by Jon Krakauer include Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Missoula.
Available at TCPL: Book
Reviewed by Technical Service Assistant Jade Crabtree
In 1925 famed explorer Percy Fawcett entered the Amazon in search of an ancient city that he called Z. El Dorado, the famed city of gold, has been hunted for centuries and thousands of people have perished in the jungle following the elusive glitter of gold. Fawcett’s journey captivated the world and inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. His and his companions’ fates have been a tantalizing mystery in the decades following his disappearance. Did Fawcett find Z? Is Z really El Dorado? Did either city really exist? These are the questions that plagued countless people who tried to follow the scant clues and retrace Fawcett’s path. David Grann made his own trip in Fawcett’s footsteps and what he discovers answers some questions but raises even more.
The Lost City of Z was optioned for film and is currently in post-production with scheduled release date in 2016. It will feature Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy) as Percy Fawcett, Sienna Miller as his wife and Robert Pattinson Henry Costin.
Available at TCPL: Book | Overdrive Audiobook
Reviewed by Technical Services Librarian Erica Hall
Miss Congeniality meets The Incredibles in this YA satire of beauty pageants, consumer culture, and adventure movies. A plane transporting the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream Pageant crashes on a deserted island. The handful of contestants that survive the crash struggle to stay alive on the island, get along with each other, face the island’s other secret occupants, and stay in form for their competition- if it ever takes place. The girls’ stories are interspersed with commercials, super secret spy transcripts, and wacky footnotes that make for great entertainment.
This book does not take itself seriously, and neither should you. Described by the author as “a feminist take on Lord of the Flies,” it is a riot from start to finish. Anyone interested in girrrrl power, feminist issues, and/or critique of western culture should check this book out. For added enjoyment, check out the audiobook; read by the author, the commercials and various jokes really reach their full effect there.
Available at TCPL: Audiobook