Thursday, May 29, 2014

Catalogging Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Fall 2014

Soooo.....paging through the HMH fall catalog and found some very cool titles. Here's an overview on what caught my eye:

Beetle Busters by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimonwicz & The Next Wave by Elizabeth Rusch. These are the new releases in the STELLAR Scientists in the Field series. These books never disappoint — solid information, outstanding photos, great profiles of men and women all over the world who are making a difference. They are diverse by nature of topic and the scientists they cover (race, ethnicity, gender) and every single time I sit down to read one I learn something valuable and interesting.

In Beetle Busters, the topic is the Asian longhorned beetle which is invading US hardwood forests and must be stopped. Bonus in this one - beetle-sniffing dogs!  Then Elizabeth Rusch looks at tidal power in The Next Wave and considers the "amazing devices that cling to the bottom of the sea floor and surf on the crests of waves" to capture energy in the Pacific Northwest.

The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde continues the Chronicles of Kazam series. This is just flat out fun fantasy reading! You've got a smart, brave protagonist in 16 year old Jennifer Strange who is stuck managing the Kazam Mystical Arts Management agency. Jennifer herds a bunch of wizards all of whom are different degrees of nutty/ornery while dealing with all sorts of political and economic issues which will ring as very familiar to readers. This go-round an impossible task is issued by the Might Shandar and a road trip ensues. No vamps or werewolves to be found in the Kingdom of Snodd; just solid fun and no small amount of hilarity. (With a bit of troll fighting, etc.)

Zac and Mia by AJ Betts.  Set in Perth, Australia, this has potential to be a tear jerker but I'm holding out hope that the "unflinchingly tough but tender" tagline will not lead me down the weepy territory. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not a journey I like to take in my reading.)

Zac is battle leukemia and Mia has her own cancer issues. They are both monumentally annoyed by this and reach out to each other upon release from the hospital. "When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics and antibiotics." That's Zac, and that is what has me intrigued. I hope he stays mad through the book because mad at cancer is something I appreciate.

Alice and Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe, illustrated by Sally Klann. "On a cold winter's day in 1892, nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell slashed the throat of seventeen-year old Freda Ward. The two young women had previously been engaged, but after being found out, Alice decided that if she couldn't have Freda, no one would. The passion and intrigue of the affair turned Alice's trial into a national sensation which has influenced our media's response to gay women every since."

WOW. I have never heard of this case - sounds fascinating, yes? (I love forgotten/overlooked history.) The text includes "artwork, manuscripts, maps and news clippings."

Alexis Coe wrote about the case previously for The Toast.

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