AbeBooks is full of avid readers, with interests ranging across the board, from contemporary fiction to politics and spirituality. We're pleased to share some of our favorite books with you.

 

The Lizard Cage

by Karen Connelly

The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly

The story centers around the daily life of a popular musician named Teza; a political prisoner in a Burmese solitary confinement cell. The setting is the late 1980's, when millions of people in the country protested against the brutality of their military dictatorship. Teza was imprisoned for the truthful lyrics in his songs. Despite his isolation, Teza has a profound influence on the people around him, and the character development is elegant and complex. Connelly is masterful in describing how the human spirit can endure and inspire, even while in the midst of widespread injustice and suffering.

If you enjoy this, you might like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Five Stars Reviewed by Cathy

The Omnivore's Dilemma

by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natrual History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

This book came as a recommendation from a friend. I try to eat well and eat home cooked food where possible.  I thought this book might help me make better decisions about how best to feed my family. I had no idea that it would turn me against corn. Who knew mass produced corn was evil? And who knew it was in almost everything processed that we eat?  As a father who has a sincere desire to ensure my kids grow up eating ‘real’ food that is good for them (at least for the most part), this book has been a bit of an eye opener but at the same time has made it harder to  decide where to eat without feeling guilty. I must say, I do feel so fortunate to live somewhere (Victoria, BC) where we can actually make food choices that take local and organic into consideration.

If you enjoy this, you might like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Four Stars Reviewed by Shaun

 

101 Resumes to Best Sell Yourself

by Jay A. Block

101 Resumes to Best Sell Yourself by Jay A. Block

7 years since publication and this book is as relevant as ever.  Jay Block has a  background in marketing and his approach to resume writing is based on the idea of packaging a product. Packaging that highlights features and benefits. Reading this book has absolutely revolutionized my thinking about the value that I can bring to the business world, and it supplied me with information and inspiration to pursue my ambitions.

 

Four Stars Reviewed by Anton



The Eye of the World

by Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time is a must read series for anyone into Science Fiction or Fantasy. The first book, The Eye of the World, opens up a doorway into the world that will span a dozen novels. We get to see the boy that starts to turn into a man in this opening novel. Robert Jordan writes in a clear style that doesn't require interpretation and allows you to be swept away into a world of magic, politics, and adventure.

If you enjoy this, you might like The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

Five Stars Reviewed by Meredith

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon

The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

This book came to me on the recommendation of a friend. I loved it. It has quickly earned a spot on my "favourite books of all time" list. The story is beautiful, and could appeal to so many people—WWII buffs, comic lovers, and anyone who enjoys a wonderfully written book with engaging plotlines and believable characters. The story follows the friendship of Joe Kavalier and his cousin Sam Clay, who meet when Joe seeks refuge from his Nazi-occupied home of Prague with Sam and his mother in New York City. Sam's love of comics and Joe's extraordinary drawing skills help foster a lifelong partnership between the two.

Five Stars Reviewed by Beth



World War Z

by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks

If you like Zombies, chances are you'll love this book. This fictitious complilation of stories from before, during and after the zombie wars documents the global reaction to the outbreak of the walking dead. Told from the point of view of feral children, soldiers, scientists and almost any one else you can imagine, this is a book you can really sink your teeth into!

If you enjoy this, you might like The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Five Stars Reviewed by Anna

American Gods

by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

What happens to a people's historic beliefs as they migrate to a new land that already has its own melting pot form of devotion? This is the premise behind Neil Gaiman's epic tale of old vs. new deities in his novel American Gods. Thoughtful, disturbing, hilarious and horrifying all at the same time, Neil weaves an intriguing tale full of adventure and deceit. The lead mortal character, Shadow, finds himself cast into the middle of an eternal battle between old world deities and new world idols. With a surprise ending sure to fool most everyone, American Gods was a good read full of ancient mythology that even hardcore fable seekers would have trouble recognizing.

If you enjoy this, you might like Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

Four Stars Reviewed by Josiah

Capers in the Churchyard

by Lee Hall

Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart

I consider Lee Hall's book a must-read for anyone who considers themselves an animal advocate. In some cases, this book served to justify or reinforce my opinions; in others, my eyes were opened. Lee tackles two major trends in the animal rights movement: animal welfarism and so-called direct action. For the former, Lee clearly explains why a movement based upon making concessions with animal-use industries serves to reinforce the very idea that non-human animals are commodities. For the latter, the book provides many examples of violent action backfiring and making societal evolution even harder to realise. Interesting parallels are also drawn between the two, with flaws shared equally by both. In Lee's book, the overall message is clear: change for the better has to come from a foundation of peace and respect, if not for the sake of our integrity then for the sake of true advancement in social ethics.

Five Stars Reviewed by Niilo

The Magician's Assistant

by Ann Patchett

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

Oh, I love this book so much. After reading (and adoring) Bel Canto, I wanted to read all the Ann Patchett I could get my hands on, and this is my favourite so far. I read it around the same time as watching the films The Illusionist and The Prestige quite by accident, and found myself steeped in magic. The Magician's Assistant tells the story of Sabine, a Jewish Magician's Assistant living in Los Angeles, mourning the loss of her magician, who was also her husband (of convenience and affection; he was gay) and her best friend, and as she learns quickly after his death, someone she didn't know as well as she thought. Like Bel Canto, the writing is so strong and brilliant, and manages to show the reader, rather than tell the reader the story. I adore everyone in this book and wish they were real so I could visit them.

If you enjoy this, you might like Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

Four Stars Reviewed by Beth



Quantum Enigma

by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner

Quantum Enigma by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner

Suspense, mystery, religion, drama, history and a plot that will shake your beliefs and challenge whatever preconceived ideas you have on how the universe works.

Did I mention this is a book about physics?

Well, it kind of is about physics. It is about quantum mechanics and it’s used by the authors to teach a physics course at the university.

However, you won’t know you are learning physics until it’s too late.

You will be fascinated by the quarrels (friendly, of course) between Einstein and Niels Bohr; you will be captivated by the lives of the greatest minds of our times but, beyond all that, you will be simply mesmerized by the inconceivable repercussions of the quantum theory.

This book describes THE most important theory in physics: quantum mechanics. However, it doesn’t waste any time on numbers, equations or mathematical demonstrations (fortunately!). It goes straight to the implications of a theory that, following the unquestionable evidence, suggests that consciousness can (and does) impact the objective measurements on physics experiments, and by extension, the way the universe works.

The potential craziness of a world being deeply affected by consciousness will make you feel like Alice through the looking glass, with the possible exception that, unlike Alice, you won’t have a way back. Quantum Theory works beautifully, as the authors state, a third of the American economy depends on the accuracy of the theory (and no, the stock market is not part of what the theory predicts). The implications of it working beautifully will make you dizzy. Perhaps, you will even miss the quieter, easier times when an apple falling over somebody’s head was enough to explain the wonders of the world around us.

Those were good, simpler times. Quantum times, on the other hand, are exhilarating.

If you enjoy this, you might like Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert.

Four Stars Reviewed by Fernando

The Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This capturing tale of Pi is a story about so many things, and yet nothing at the same time, resulting in one of the greatest reads I've had this year. Pi's family decides to move to Canada and along the way, the ship sinks, stranding Pi on a lifeboat with a tiger by the name of Richard Parker, and three other zoo animals. As Pi desperately searches for solutions to his situation, he and his feline companion manage to somehow form an uneasy truce, and then proceed to embark on a series of unforgettable adventures. Pi and Richard Parker by some means manage to over come the challenges of thirst and starvation without turning on each other and by the end of Pi's tribulation, his story seems so enthralling that as a reader you will refuse to believe it, so Pi decides to revise the story of his journey accordingly for the story’s much anticipated ending.

Four Stars Reviewed by Amy

 

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

by Vincent Lam

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures follows the trials, tribulations and exhaustion of four medical students as they make their way through various aspects of the medical community and education. It's a quiet book about the internal struggles present in everyone, and how those struggles manifest themselves differently for different people, and the way people choose to deal (or not deal) with conflict. I would recommend this book, and very much enjoyed it.

If you enjoy this, you might like The Crazed by Ha Jin.

Three Stars Reviewed by Beth

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

In an ashen world cloaked in darkness, The Road tells the story of a man and his son making their way through post-apocalyptic North America. Enduring one horrific encounter after another, the father and son carry on down the road fighting for survival.

If you enjoy this, you might like The Stand by Stephen King.

Four Stars Reviewed by Anna

White Teeth

by Zadie Smith

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

White Teeth is Zadie Smith's first novel, and that's why I'm recommending it; I think for a first novel it is absolutely tremendous. The characters of Samad and Archie and their families are so vivid and colourful, and occasionally so unlikely in their overlaps, but believable in the bonds of friendship and shared history that unite them.

I really loved the book for the most part. My one complaint would be the length of the book. I found it branched off in so many places to so many other characters that in places I had a hard time keeping them all straight, and I think the story would have benefited from a stricter editor. That said, I finished it, and enjoyed it, and missed the characters once they weren’t a daily part of my life anymore. I will look for more Zadie Smith.

Three Stars Reviewed by Beth

Lullabies for Little Criminals

by Heather O'Neill

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

A friend of mine finished this book, and immediately mailed it to me because she knew I would love it. The book introduced me to Baby (it's her real name) early on, when she is 11 years old and moving from crummy apartment to crummier apartment with her father. At first I worried this would be another book where unspeakably terrible things happen to a child and she is forced to grow up too fast and endure. And in a sense, it is. But O'Neill's writing is so unusual and so childlike that it really feels as though all of these people, scenes and occurrences are being experienced as a child. There is an optimism and innocence throughout the book, and a sense of play, that really made me remember the secret world of imagination we occupy in childhood (and tend to lose somewhat in adulthood). While this book could have been forgettable as a story that is tragically told all too often, the writing is so strong and beautiful that I know I'll read it again, and watch for more from Heather O'Neill.

Four Stars Reviewed by Beth

Why Software Sucks

by David S. Platt

Why Software Sucks by David S. Platt

A near-essential book for anyone who works in high-tech or relies on software for their work or hobbies. Written to appeal to non-technical readers as well as programmers, this book explores how and why an easy and intuitive customer experience is often missing from software. Developers assume that the 'average user' is like him or her, when of course the average customer wouldn't use 1/100th of the features that a true techie would be interested in. Platt provides lots of great examples of the good, bad and very ugly from common companies such as Apple and Microsoft. And it is funny, which is an unexpected surprise for a computer book.

Four Stars Reviewed by Hillary

On The Beach

by Nevil Shute

On The Beach by Nevil Shute

Do you ever wonder what you would do if you learned that you had six months to live? In a world destroyed by nuclear war, the characters in On The Beach live our their final months in Australia, the last surviving continent on Earth. Romance, desperate military missions, car races, this is a real-tear jerker and a classic for those who hold out hope to the bitter end.

If you enjoy this, you might like A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

Five Stars Reviewed by Anna

 

Marabou Stork Nightmares

by Irvine Welsh

Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh

In this literary gem, Irvine Welsh (author of cult classic Trainspotting) takes the reader on a terrifying introspective journey using the broken colloquial that has become his signature. Chock-full of horrific imagery and symbolism, Welsh creates a disturbing nightmare that won't easily be forgotten.

If you enjoy this, you might like The Acid House by Irvine Welsh.

Five Stars Reviewed by Anna