We're getting close to Octoickato, which means grocery lists are replacing book lists. Everyone is a bit distracted these days, and so we're going to keep the commentary tight and light this week. Give you more brain space to figure out how to get those potatoes inside that chicken inside that octopus for the family meal at the end of the month.

First up, we have Michael T. Klare's All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change. This might be Peak Subtitle, because do you really need to read another paragraph or two of book summary? 

Meanwhile, in the Dead Authors Are Still Getting Top Billing Department, Michael Crichton is back this week with The Andromeda Evolution. Now, to be fair, Daniel H. Wilson (author of a bunch of great SF thrillers) did all the heavy lifting here, but the marketing department knows what's actually going to sell this book. 

Also, Wilson does a good Crichton. So, if you've been worrying a long-standing need for a sequel to The Andromeda Strain, you can finally set that to rest. 

Janet Evanovich is up to number twenty-six in her Stephanie Plum series. Twisted Twenty-Six claims that the "stakes are never higher," which we suspect has been an on-going thing for a half-dozen books or more. We hope they don't go so high that you need a space elevator or something to keep up. 

MIT economists Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo want to talk about economics, which is perfect for prepping you for those after dinner conversations that you're going to have to endure during the next month and a half. And while Good Economics for Hard Times is a fine title, we'd like to propose that Banerjee and Duflo swap with Allen Eskens. Nothing More Dangerous is a much more exiting title about economic policy change. 

We honestly can't summarize Good Economics for Hard Times in two sentences (and we tried), and so we'll settle for "economics is more than figuring out how to maximize your profit at the loss of everyone else around you." Oh, and these two won the Nobel Prize this year in Economics, so there's some peer review for you. 

Speaking of Eskens, his new book, Good Economics—no, wait—Nothing More Dangerous is a stand-alone coming-of-age novel where family loyalties, small town betrayals, and a dead body or two leads to a community coming to grips with their own prejudices and intolerances. Eskens's first novel—The Life We Bury—was a finalist for nearly every mystery award, and we expect this book will be up to the same high standards. 

And speaking of high standards, we've also got Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie's Life. Bowie was an inveterate reader, and there are many stories about him traveling with trunks of books during his career. John O'Connell, who assembled this list, is careful to point out that this list isn't Bowie's favorites, but are the books that had the greatest impact on Bowie's musical output. And having spent some time wandering through the book, we can tell you that the list is eclectic, marvelous, and eye-opening. 

Speaking of eye-opening, the book we keep coming back to this week is Kassia St. Clair's The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History. Do you want to know about Viking sailmaking? Check. How about modern sports fabrics? High-altitude survival gear? Got that covered. The history of lace? Yep. How about mummy wrap? St. Clair gives you all you need to know. This is a great book for the historian in your house who is impossible to buy for. 

And Myke Cole's Sacred Throne trilogy comes to a rousing conclusion with The Killing Light. We've been tracking Heloise's growth from wild blacksmith's daughter in The Armored Saint to Fullmetal Alchemist mech-warrior in Queen of Crows. Now, Cole brings it all home—Joan of Arc style—with The Killing Light. It's a satisfying (and heartbreaking) conclusion. 

Oh, look! Jared Blando's Fantasy Mapmaker: How to Draw RPG Cities for Gamers and Fans. Again, title and subtitle say it all. 

And finally, here's a delightful gem. Dungeons & Drawings is a compendium of fantastic beasts by Blanca Martínez de Rituerto and Joe Sparrow. It's got centaurs and oozes and dark whatsits and about eight dozen other beasties. And there are stats and write-ups about the habits and habitats of these monsters. All very standard fantasy role-playing stuff. But their art! Oh, their art! It is so marvelous. Colorful and charming and bloody. We approve. We heartily approve.

Late, One Night at the Bookstore »»

<SFX> Rustling noise. 

<SFX> More rustling noises. 

<SFX> Tiny feet padding about. 

<SFX> Rustling noises that abruptly stop. 

ROLLO: Hello? Is anyone there? 

<SFX> The distant hum of air conditioning. Or maybe a train passing. 

ROLLO: Hello? I am a very small hedgehog, but I am fierce. Hello? 

<VFX> Muffled noises. 

<SFX> Loud rustling. Followed by a box top flapping open. 

PODGE: Rollo! Thank goodness. 

ROLLO: Podge? 

PODGE: It's me. Can you see me? 

ROLLO: Why . . . why are you up there on the top shelf? 

PODGE: This is where the snacks are. 

ROLLO: How . . . how did you get up there? 

PODGE: Well, there was a stack of Stephen King novels over there, and then I jumped over to a stack of old cookbooks, which, uh, fell over. And there used to be a stack of Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown over there, but they aren't there now, and so now I am stuck. 

ROLLO: Stuck? 

PODGE: I can't get down. But it's okay! Because there are snacks up here. And it's warm. It's very warm. I think I fell asleep. Is it still Tuesday? 

ROLLO: It's Thursday. 

PODGE: Oh, only Thursday? That's—

ROLLO: In November. 

PODGE: —Oh . . . 

ROLLO: Yes. 

PODGE: So, uh, did I miss anything? 

SERRA: Llama!

PODGE: What the heck is that? 

SERRA: Llama!

PODGE: What is it saying? 

ROLLO: It's okay, Serra. He's one of us. 

SERRA: Oh, he is? Oh, goodness. Hello!

PODGE: Hello?

SERRA: Are you a tree dwelling critter? 

PODGE: No, I'm an otter. 

SERRA: You are? But . . . but you're up on a shelf. Are you an elf otter? 

PODGE: No, I'm not an elf otter. I'm a stuck otter. 

SERRA: Stuck? 

ROLLO: He can't get down. 

PODGE: Someone moved the books. 

ROLLO: You know that happens around here. 

PODGE: I know, I know. But snacks!

SERRA: Snacks? There are snacks? 

PODGE: There were snacks, before I—it's not important.

ROLLO: So you can't get down? 

PODGE: I'm, like, four miles away from the ground, Rollo! That's not a jump I want to make. 

SERRA: You can jump?

PODGE: Of course I can jump. It's the landing part that's hard. I'm not a cat. 

SERRA: Cats can jump? 

ROLLO: They pounce too. 

SERRA: I can bounce. See? 

ROLLO: That's some excellent bouncing, Serra. 

SERRA: Thank you, Rollo. 

PODGE: Ah, hello. Yes, hi. I'm still stuck on this shelf. 

SERRA: It's too bad you aren't a cat. 

PODGE: . . . 


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