From Hannah, our newest employee: Is your New Year’s resolution to read more nonfiction? Do you normally think of nonfiction books as a dry read filled with facts and no intrigue? Or are you simply fascinated with archology and anthropology?
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz is steeped in fact, but reads as a fiction at times, as they weave together archeological evidence into a vibrant picture of the lives the ancient people may have led. The focus of this book is on the people who inhabited these “lost “cities, thereby making it immediately more relatable than you would expect.
W. W. Norton Review: “A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history―and figure out why people abandoned them.
In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.
Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers―slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers―who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia.
Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate.”
The wait is over! The anxiously awaited sequel to A Deadly Education, first book in the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik, has arrived at the library. Dark Academia is one of my favorite sub-genres, and this book is dark indeed! (Scholomance is like Hogwarts, if Hogwarts was run by Voldemort’s more powerful and more evil sibling…). Highly recommended but I strongly advise reading book 1 first if you haven’t already done so.
Library Journal review: “Keep far away from Orion Lake.” Galadriel “El” Higgins knows she should take her mother’s words seriously, but she has to survive her senior year in the Scholomance, and Orion may be one of the few allies (friends?) who can help. From day one of the term, El is up against deadly homework, the maleficaria that linger, and her destructive destiny for dark power. She must fight fate, feelings, and monsters to get herself and her allies out of this horrid school alive, and the stakes will only continue to rise. When El’s power is made public, she realizes that rules were made to be broken. In fact, throwing out the rulebook entirely might mean her survival…VERDICT Sardonic students, gruesome monsters, growing friendships, and a touch of romance create a highly readable story. Some questions remain to be answered in the trilogy’s last volume. The end of this installment ensures that book three can’t come fast enough.”
“New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress , Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.”
I love short fiction and general, but it’s especially great for the summer, when you can knock out a story of novella while enjoying the warm weather, and was thrilled to see that Marjorie Liu had had released a short fiction collection. I’m a huge fan of Liu’s Monstress series of graphic novels, and The Tangleroot Palace delivered exact mix of heart and grit that I expected, and more.