BOOK NEWS FOR 12-08-09

Fiction, paperbacks, book boxes for kids this year Box sets of popular series, off-kilter encyclopedias and beloved classics in special editions make books a good way to take the edge off all the electronic games and plastic toys that wash ashore for kids at the holidays.

And there’s the price tag. Children’s and young adult book sales were up in the early part of the year, according to the American Association of Publishers, and book sellers see a glimmer of hope for the holidays.

“What I’m hoping is that this holiday season will not be as bad as the last one in which there seemed to be a lot of people pulling back and scaling back really rapidly,” said Michael Norris, a senior analyst for the media and publishing research firm Simba Information. “Parents understand the value of a book.”

Some suggestions: AGES 0-3

— “A Pop-Up Book of Nursery Rhymes” (Simon & Schuster, $26.99) by Matthew Reinhart.

Look for this gem in the Little Simon Classic Collectible Pop-Up series to avoid serious sticker shock over a far pricier limited edition. Intricate paperwork with multiple pops per page. Fifteen rhymes in all.

AGES 4-8

— “Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Classic Gift Set” (Penguin, $19.99) original and authorized editions by Beatrix Potter.

With color illustrations in editions small enough for little hands: “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher,” “The Tale of Tom Kitten” and “The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.”

AGES 9-12

— “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Complete Series” (Hyperion, $89.99) by Rick Riordan.

Fans of the five-book series are awaiting the February release of “The Lightning Thief,” the first film based on the first book. This set is boxed in a steamer trunk. Also look for “The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition” with cloth cover and full-color illustrations. $25.

AGES 13-15

— Anything from “The Twilight Saga” by Stephenie Meyer. Paperbacks are abundant. Hardcover box set of complete series available for $83.00.

More here

Soulless by Gail Carriger – review Soulless is a fantasy novel based on the premise that the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church came about when King Henry VIII integrated the supernatural – namely vampires, werewolves, and ghosts – into English society, making them the first and only nation to treat them as anything other than the natural enemies of man. Soulless itself is set 300 years later, during the Victorian era, and the integration is now total. Oddly enough, the Victorian England of Soulless is not that different from the Victorian England of history, for reasons the author details in an interview recorded in the back of the novel:

A speculation arose: what if all those strange and unexplainable bends in history were the result of supernatural interference? At which point I asked myself, what’s the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer: the Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires.

When she puts it that way, I have to admit that it seems as good an explanation as any.

So that is the world in which we find our heroine, Alexia Tarabotti. Miss Tarabotti is a well-bred spinster with an aggressively independent personality, no marriage prospects, and no soul. As one of the soulless, referred to politely as preternatural, or impolitely as soul-sucker, her touch cancels out all of the supernatural attributes of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. Preternaturals are extremely rare, even relative to supernatural creatures, and so Miss Tarabotti’s nature is unknown to everyone outside of herself, the English supernatural community, and the relevant parts of Her Majesty’s Government. She is, in point of fact, the sole female preternatural in England, and is consequently something of a celebrity in supernatural circles. Miss Tarabotti is thus greatly put off when – having snuck away from a private ball to take some tea in her host’s library – she is accosted by a vampire, and a poorly dressed one at that. Appalled by his lack of manners, and his repeated attempts to feed on her, Miss Tarabotti resorts to thrashing him with her parasol and inadvertently ends up killing him

More here

Good suggestions for all the ages, even the parents might enjoy them. What do you think?

Wow, a story about someone that can cancel out all of the supernatural attributes, sounds interesting. Will you be reading it?