Long live the weekend (and 5 more books that make it great)!
Really good books make you jubilant. Friday is upon us and make you wish to never emerge from these made-up places when Monday draws near. Here are five such books, from the sublime to the strange:
- “Maximum Volume: Best New Philippine Fiction 2,” edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Angelo R. Lacuesta (Anvil Publishing Inc.)
This second volume in the series featuring excellent short stories in English by Filipino writers under 45 bristles with stories that are all sharp, well-imagined and, in their own way, dangerous. Each offering is a story, in full term, in full force, in full.”
Features stories by Justine Camacho-Tajonera, Ian Rosales Casocot, Bernice S. Castro, Mara Coson, Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon, Andrew Drilon, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Sasha Martinez, Kristine Ong Muslim, Michelangelo Samson, Vincent Michael Simbulan, Brylle B. Tabora, Catherine Torres and Vincen Gregory Yu.
- “The Vegetarian,” by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith (Hogarth, New York, 2015)
This book, originally published as three books in Korean, won the Man Booker International Prize. The book’s title and the seemingly innocuous act that it records (Yeong-hye decision to stop eating meat to stop the deluge of horrifying dreams she’s been having lately) are both understatements considering the violent and vivid consequences.
“The Vegetarian” is an all-consuming quick read full of little horrors that’s both sexually charged with its approach to body image as well as its definition of captivity and escape.
- “End of Watch,” by Stephen King (Scribner, New York, 2016)
The superstar American novelist concludes the trilogy that began with 2014’s “Mr. Mercedes” and continued with 2015’s “Finders Keepers.”
The retired police detective Bill Hodges enters the end game of his three-book pursuit of the murderous—and apparently superpowered—Brady Hartsfield, “Mr. Mercedes” himself, who may be linked to a string of puzzling suicides.
There’s a guilty-pleasure quality to the maze of events that will inevitably lead to the two characters meeting again. Together with intrepid partner Holly Gibney, Hodges brings King’s first cycle of detective fiction to its proper ending, one that will make readers wish King did more of this kind of thing.
- “A Hundred Thousand Worlds,” by Bob Proehl (Viking, New York, 2016)
An exuberant family road trip that has been rightfully described as “A Kavalier and Clay for the comic-con age,” Proehl’s novel gets going when the former sci-fi TV star Val Torrey takes her son west to his estranged father. Of course, Val has to make appearances at conventions along the way, and here “Worlds” takes on its otherworldly quality as the readers plunge into the rabbit hole that is the modern comic-con.
“Worlds” is a grand celebration of geekdom and its transformative powers, making this novel an irresistible example of what Proehl is discussing in it—and the readers effectively the characters in it as well.
- “Wounded Little Gods,” by Eliza Victoria (Visprint Inc., Pasay City, 2016)
“It got dark quickly in Heridos,” Victoria writes in this tale of forgotten divinity and secrets hiding in plain sight. Victoria won the National Book Award for her 2014 novel “Dwellers,” and remains in top form in “Wounded,” where Regina comes home to revelations and reintroductions thanks to a missing colleague and a mysterious map pointing to an old man’s farm.
Modern mythology makes “Wounded” a fantastic read empowered by Victoria’s powerful prose.
All titles available at National Book Store.
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