What We’re Reading Wednesday (01/14/15)

THE JUST CITY by Jo Walton

“As skilled in execution as it is fascinating in premise, Walton’s new work doesn’t require a degree in classics, although readers might well be inspired to read Plato after seeing the rocky destruction of his dream. Although rich with philosophical discussions, what keeps this novel from becoming too chilly or analytical are its sympathetic female characters.”–Library Journal (starred review)

“The award-winning Walton has written a remarkable novel of ideas that demands-and repays-careful reading. It is itself an exercise in philosophy that often, courtesy of Socrates, critically examines Plato’s ideas. If this sounds abstruse, it sometimes is, but the plot is always accessible and the world building and characterization are superb. In the end, the novel more than does justice to the idea of the Just City.”–Booklist (starred review)


“Monson is a triple-threat author whose distinctively imaginative, tell-it-slant writing routinely gets award recognition: his novel Other Electricities won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award and was a NYPL Young Lions Award finalist; his poetry collection Vacationland won a Tupelo Press Editors’ Prize; and Vanishing Point was a National Book Critics Circle finalist in criticism. Oh, and he also edits the online literary/arts magazine DIAGRAM. His next foray into criticism examines the physical relationship between book and reader, tapping the marginalia and highlighting, fingerprints and paper slips left behind in books found in a wide range of libraries, from academic institutions to friends’ collections to a KGB prison library. Along the way, Monson investigates how reading and writing shape us, our need to annotate and preserve, and the very nature of libraries.”–Library Journal, Pre-Pub Alert


“With an uncanny understanding of authorial insecurities and a freakishly honed sense of the supernatural origin of literary inventiveness, acclaimed Finnish novelist Jääskeläinen eerily explores the nature of creative inspiration, incisively exposes writers’ desperate aspirations, and suggestively unveils the price one pays to have one’s dreams fulfilled.”–Booklist

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