The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Bluestocking. Below are the books I received this week:
1) Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler. Publisher's Summary. "I've been mythicized, Mick-icized, eulogized and fooligized, I've been Cole-Portered and farmer's-daughtered, I've been Led Zepped and 12-stepped. I'm a rhyming fool and so cool that me, Fritz the Cat, and Mohair Sam are the baddest cats that am. I have so many outrageous stories, too many, and I'm gonna tell 'em all. All the unexpurgated, brain-jangling tales of debauchery, sex & drugs, transcendence & chemical dependence you will ever want to hear."
The son of a classical pianist straight out of the Bronx of old Archie comics, Steven Tyler was born to be a rock star. Weaned on Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Mick—and his beloved Janis Joplin—Tyler began tearing up the streets and the stage as a teenager before finally meeting his "mutant twin" and legendary partner Joe Perry. In this addictively readable memoir, told in the playful, poetic voice that is uniquely his own, Tyler unabashedly recounts the meteoric rise, fall, and rise of Aerosmith over the last three decades and riffs on the music that gives it all meaning.
Tyler tells what it's like to be a living legend and the frontman of one of the world's most revered and infamous bands—the debauchery, the money, the notoriety, the fights, the motels and hotels, the elevators, limos, buses and jets, the rehab. He reveals the spiritual side that "gets lost behind the stereotype of the Sex Guy, the Drug Guy, the Demon of Screamin', the Terror of the Tropicana." And he talks about his epic romantic life and his relationship with his four children. As dazzling, bold, and out-on-the-edge as the man himself, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? is an all-access backstage pass into this extraordinary showman's life.
Thanks to Harper Audio!
2) State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Publisher's Summary. Ann Patchett has dazzled readers with her award-winning books, including The Magician's Assistant and the New York Times bestselling Bel Canto. Now she raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle.
Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.
Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations.
In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.
Thanks to Harper Collins!
3) Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar. Amazon Product Description. In a sweeping narrative, the author of the mega-bestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how it rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.
Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She then describes the efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshal, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and Irving Fisher to put those insights into action—with revolutionary consequences for the world.
From the great John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American economists Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers transformed the world—from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the entire world.
In Nasar’s dramatic account of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, world wars, revolutions, economic upheavals, and each other’s ideas to turn back Malthus and transform the dismal science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto age-old destiny of misery and early death.
This idea, unimaginable less than 200 years ago, is a story of trial and error, and ultimately transcendent, rendered here in stunning narrative.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster!
4) The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollok. Publisher's Summary. In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic overtones of Flannery O’Connor at her most haunting.
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.
Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.
I'm a reader/commuter in the DC Metro Area. My daily commute to work provides me with ample time to do what I love most: read! Whether its chick lit, literature, memoirs or other non fiction you can always find me with a book.
Review requests may be sent to dcmetroreader(at)gmail(dot)com.
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