Featured Book: The Birthday of the World and Other Stories by Ursula Le Guin (fiction)
Le Guin's engrossing tales challenge you to think about what it means to be human in the face of war or profound change. Step into worlds powered by her extraordinary imagination and discover complex social interactions and troublesome issues of loyalty, love and survival, history, religion and slavery. Deeply concerned with gender, these eight stories, although ostensibly about aliens, are all about us. Le Guin's characters struggle to come to terms with themselves or their worlds.
The journey can be literal, as in Paradises Lost, set on a generational ship, where the inhabitants, living in a utopia, learn they will land on the planet their ancestors set out to colonize 40 years earlier; and as in Unchosen Love, where a young man falls in love with someone in another country and must decide if he can build a new life in a new place.
In The Birthday of the World, the nature of God is considered as hereditary rulers, literal gods to their subjects, give up their power when new gods aliens come, throwing their culture into chaos.
The Matter of Seggri takes place on a planet where women greatly outnumber men, and in Unchosen Love and Mountain Ways, society is based on complex marriage relationships comprising four people. Le Guin handles these difficult topics through her richly drawn characters and her believable worlds. Evocative, richly textured and lyrically written, this collection is a must-read for Le Guin's fans.
The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: "You have a choice – one million dollars or a clue."
Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family.
Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important; hunting clues or uncovering what really happened to their parents.
The 39 Clues is Scholastic's groundbreaking new series, spanning 10 adrenaline-charged books, 350 trading cards, and an online game where readers play a part in the story and compete for over $100,000 in prizes.
The 39 Clues books set the story, and the cards, website and game allow kids to participate in it. Kids visit the website – the39clues.com - and discover they are lost members of the Cahill family. They set up online accounts where they can compete against other kids and against Cahill characters to find all 39 clues.
Through the website, kids can track their points and clues, manage their card collections, dig through the Cahill archives for secrets, and "travel" the world to collect Cahill artifacts, interview characters, and hunt down clues. Collecting cards helps: Each card is a piece of evidence containing information on a Cahill, a clue, or a family secret.
Away: A Novel by Amy Bloom
Life is no party for Lillian Leyb, the 22-year-old Jewish immigrant protagonist of Bloom's outstanding fifth novel – her husband and parents were killed in a Russian pogrom, and the same violent episode separated her from her three-year-old daughter, Sophie.
Arriving in New York in 1924, Lillian dreams of Sophie, and after five weeks in America, barely speaking English, she outmanoeuvres a line of applicants for a seamstress job at the Goldfadn Yiddish Theatre, where she becomes the mistress of both handsome lead actor Meyer Burstein and his very connected father, Reuben.
Her only friend in New York, tailor/actor/playwright Yaakov Shimmelman, gives her a thesaurus and coaches her on American culture. In a last, loving, gesture, Yaakov secures Lillian passage out of New York to begin her quest to find Sophie.
The journey-through Chicago by train, into Seattle's African-American underworld and across the Alaskan wilderness-elevates Bloom's novel from familiar immigrant chronicle to sweeping saga of endurance and rebirth. Encompassing prison, prostitution and poetry, Yiddish humour and Yukon settings, Bloom's tale offers linguistic twists, startling imagery, sharp wit and a compelling vision of the past.
All titles available at Vijitha Yapa Bookshop on request