TBR: Spring Reading

There is an impressive stack of new books premiering this Spring. Everything from a fresh retelling of the sinking of the Lusitania, to a memoir blending bereavement with falconry, to an intense tale of three violent and rebellious individuals hurtling toward disaster. The snow is slowly melting revealing the lamented color green. Soon we will shrug off our parkas, throw open our windows and whiff the redolent cat's paw of spring. It's time for my perennial list of books to be read:

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larsen: Through the use of a treasure trove of archival material, Larsen breathes new life into the tragic stories leading up to and surrounding the sinking of the luxury liner, Lusitania. Published on the 100th anniversary (nearly to the day) of the harrowing event, the author employs first hand accounts and the actual German U-boat logs to create a atmosphere of suspense amid the historical incident which led to American military engagement in the Great War.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: Under the gauzy guise of a fantasy novel, the author of the modern classics The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go expends the universal themes of love, memory, and loss in this, his first work in a decade. Ishiguro is a writer unafraid to augment the boundaries of his art. His followers have come to expect fresh and inventive material from him with each new release. From all the early scuttle, The Buried Giant delivers on their prospectus.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald: Following the death of her beloved father, the bereaved author Macdonald, a naturalist and falconer, decides to train Mabel, a feral goshawk, one of the most difficult and deadly raptors to prowl the skies. Macdonald's prose transcends the typical nature manual as the book becomes a metaphorical treatise on the journey from despair to salvation.

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt: The "Whites" as Richard Price explains, is a nickname- alluding to Moby Dick, Ahab's elusive white whale- for those unsolved cases which haunt retired police detectives to their grave. The book was intended as straight-forward detective pulp, hence the pseudonym Harry Brandt, but as Price wrote, he realized he couldn't simply dash off a quick read between serious novels, he isn't wired that way. So The Whites became a full fledged Richard Price novel, in other words: a mandatory read.

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle: From the prolific pen of one of today's more topical and incisive novelists comes a tale of three disturbed individuals: An aging Vietnam veteran, an unwilling hero of sorts: his psychologically distressed son; and his son's much older overly protective girlfriend, a card-carrying anarchist. Based on true events culminating in the largest manhunt in California's history, the novel delves deep to reveal the genuine nature of anger, violence and rebellion in America.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi: Here is one that I'm currently reading. Bacigalupi, author of The Windup Girl, has written a semi-apocalyptic cautionary tale set in the American Southwest. It seems global warming has devastated the water supply to the arid lands, think Texas, Arizona and California, and now the clear wet stuff is as valuable and volatile as that black viscous stuff once was. The author follows three main character's whose lives are brought to the brink as those with the power struggle to control the flow of life's barest of necessities.