favourite five. books to watch for in november.

november2014bookstowatchfor

The Broken Hours by Jacqueline Baker

In the spring of 1936, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft is broke, living alone in a creaky old house and deathly ill. At the edge of a nervous breakdown, he hires a personal assistant, Arthor Crandle. As the novel opens, Crandle arrives at Lovecraft”s home with no knowledge of the writer or his work but is soon drawn into his distinctly unnerving world: the malevolent presence that hovers on the landing; the ever-shining light from Lovecraft”s study, invisible from the street; and visions in the night of a white-clad girl in the walled garden. Add to this the arrival of a beautiful woman who may not be exactly what she seems, and Crandle is pulled deeper into the strange world of H.P. Lovecraft (a man known to Crandle only through letters, signed “Ech-Pi”), until Crandle begins to unravel the dark secret at its heart.  A brilliantly written, compelling and deeply creepy novel,The Broken Hoursis an irresistible literary ghost story.

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age Of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

The information age is drowning us in an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more—and faster—decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average person reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up.  But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel—and how readers can use these methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and lives.  With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to gambling in Las Vegas, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to daily life. His practical suggestions call for relatively minor changes that require little effort but will have remarkable long-term benefits for mental and physical health, productivity, and creativity.  This Is Your Brain on Music showed us how to better play and appreciate music through an understanding of how the brain works. The Organized Mind shows us how to navigate the churning flow of information in our daily lives with the same neuroscientific perspective.

Revival by Stephen King

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs–including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties–addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate–Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that “revival” has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

In these nine dazzlingly inventive and rewarding stories, Margaret Atwood”s signature dark humour, playfulness, and deadly seriousness are in abundance. In “Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,” a man who bids on a storage locker has a surprise. In “Lusus Naturae,” a woman with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In “I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth,” we remeet Tony, Charis, and Roz from The Robber Bride, but, years later, as their nemesis is seen in an unexpected form. In “Torching the Dusties,” an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet”s syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. In “Stone Mattress,” a long-ago crime is revenged in the Arctic. This is classic Margaret Atwood, and she is at the very top of her form.

Jim Henson’s the Labyrinth Novelization by  Jim Henson, Brian Froud & A. C. H. Smith

Return to the Kingdom of Whence in this sprawling prequel to Jim Henson’s classic film Labyrinth. Finally back in print and for the first time in hardcover is the novelization of LABYRINTH written by A.C.H. Smith and personally overseen by Jim Henson. This is the first in a series of novels from the Jim Henson Archives. This beautiful hardcover features unpublished goblin illustrations by legendary illustrator and concept artist Brian Froud and an exclusive peek into Jim Henson’s creative process with 50 never-before-seen pages from his personal journal, detailing the initial conception of his ideas for LABYRINTH.

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