Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: July 9, 2013

I Wear the Black Hat Chuck KlostermanI Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman has walked into the darkness. As a boy, he related to the cultural figures who represented goodness—but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)? How does the culture of deliberate malevolence operate?

In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the modern understanding of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O. J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny. Klosterman continues to be the only writer doing whatever it is he’s doing.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Chuck Klosterman is one of our favorite pop-culture authors (and the funniest to boot) so we can’t wait to see what he writes about when exploring villains! Nor can we wait to see him at his reading tonight in Jersey City. Winky face.

Raven Flight Juliet MarillierRaven Flight: A Shadowfell Novel by Juliet Marillier

Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.

Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn’s love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Juliet Marillier won us over with her lush prose and fantastic storytelling with her Sevenwaters fantasy series so we love to see that she’s still at it.

Lola and the Boy Next Door Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: The paperback version of Lola complete with a brand-spanking new cover. Now if only Isla and the Happily Ever After would get here.

Fiend Peter StensonFiend by Peter Stenson

When Chase sees the little girl in umbrella-print socks disemboweling the Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned. As someone who’s been smoking meth every day for as long as he can remember, he’s no stranger to such horrifying drug-fueled hallucinations. But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. And with Chase’s life already destroyed beyond all hope of redemption, Armageddon might actually be an opportunity-a last chance to hit restart, win back the love of his life, and become the person he once dreamed of being.

Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a brilliant portrait of addiction, a pitch-black comedy, and the darkest, most twisted love story you’ve ever read-not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Sounds like Trainspotting meets the zombie apocalypse, plus you gotta love that neon cover.

The Book of Blood and Shadow Robin WassermanThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

One night. One body, broken in a pool of blood.
One killer, lost in the shadows.
One girl, left behind.
Left alone, to face the consequences.
To find the truth.
To avenge the dead.

One night is all it takes to change Nora Kane’s life forever. Her best friend is dead; her boyfriend has vanished. And the trail of blood leads straight back to her: The person who might be responsible. The person who might be next.  

Desperate to save the people she loves and determined to find justice for the ones she’s lost, Nora unearths a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. Something to which Nora herself might hold the key. It turns out her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries—and solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: We’re not that excited what with the cover re-design for the paperback version being lackluster, but who knows, you might be stoked!

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