Summer is now officially here. For me that means butchering countless mangos with my trash knifeskills and playing Daryl Braithwaite's One Summer on repeat.
Summer break is also a time where my fellow colleagues and I like to catch up on some of the books that have been piling up on our shelves and Kindles for months/years.
Here's what geeky reads you'll find us getting into our eyeballs.
Tegan Jones - Deputy Editor
PSA: You're going to notice quite the witch theme when it comes to my selections. I have a strong suspicion that this has been influenced by a trip to New Orleans and Salem I'll be taking after CES in January.
Considering her status as the world's most powerful medium, Corvossier 'Casper' von Klitzing and her twin brother Barastin had a pretty normal life. Her unrivalled ability to speak with and control the dead had made her a living, made her notorious ... and made her a target.
After a horrific incident in her home city of Berlin, Casper's life is forever changed. The sole survivor, she is consumed with vengeance towards an enemy she doesn't understand. The only other person ever to escape the legendary Oct was a witch - so Casper is soon on her trail.
But this witch does not want to be found.
Diving headfirst into the supernaturally secretive world of spells, charms and covens, it's not long before Casper is crossing much more than just the line between the living and the dead...
All my fellow Dragon Age nerds know whats up.
Twenty years of patrols have chiseled each and every stone of the Kirkwall streets into city guardsmen Donnen Brennokovic. Weary and weathered, Donnen is paired with a recruit so green he might as well have leaves growing out of his armor. When the mismatched pair discover a dead magistrate bleeding out on the flagstones, they're caught up in a clash between a shadowy organization known only as the Executors and a secretive group of Chantry agents—all over some ancient artifact.
Have you ever wondered what happened to your body when you die?
Whether buried, burnt, snatched, dissected or decomposed, some people have been more useful dead rather than alive. From testing the efficiency of the guillotine, experiments to weigh the soul, calibrating crash test dummies, to advances in modern medicine, the deceased body has been a silent partner to many of the major advances in the understanding of ourselves.
Stiff tells a story of the last 2000 years in which human cadavers have been at the forefront of scientific exploration: from Ancient Egypt to Mediaeval pharmacies and, even, the contemporary labs that have successfully performed a head transplant on a monkey. Combining riveting story telling with science, history and reportage, Stiff is one of the funniest, most intriguing books you will ever read.
Paperback: $19.75 (21% off)
I actually this entire series several times over when I was a teenager (along with every Vampire Chronicles book) but I want to dive back in again ahead of the trip. Sadly there are no legit digital versions on Amazon or iPad as yet.
Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of four centuries of witches - a family given to poetry and incest, murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being called Lasher who haunts the Mayfair women....
Moving in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and the France of Louis XIV, from the coffee plantations of Port-au-Prince to Civil War New Orleans and back to today, Anne Rice has spun a mesmerizing tale that challenges everything we believe in.
Paperback: $14.40 (20% off)
I read Eileen Ormsby's The Darkest Web earlier this year and it was fantastic. Silk Road was published first so I'm looking forward to playing catch-up. Also, she's Australian, which is awesome.
Behind it was the FBI's Most Wanted Man, a mysterious crime czar dubbed 'Dread Pirate Roberts'. Silk Road lay at the heart of the 'Dark Web' - a parallel internet of porn, guns, assassins and drugs. Lots of drugs. With the click of a button LSD, heroin, meth, coke, any illegal drug imaginable, would wing its way by regular post from any dealer to any user in the world. How was this online drug cartel even possible? And who was the mastermind all its low roads led to?
This is the incredible true story of Silk Road's rise and fall, told with unparalleled insight into the main players - including alleged founder and kingpin Dread Pirate Roberts himself - by lawyer and investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby. A stunning crime story with a truth that explodes off the page.
Olivia Harris - Sub-Editor
In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the colour of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different – special – she names her Onyesonwu, which means ‘Who fears death?' in an ancient language.
It doesn't take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is Ewu – a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm, she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her.
Desperate to elude her would-be murderer and to understand her own nature, she embarks on a journey in which she grapples with nature, tradition, history, true love, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately learns why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.
One drowsy summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking...
The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly's life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland's Atlantic coast as Europe's oil supply dries up - a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapses in the laws of reality. For Holly Sykes - daughter, sister, mother, guardian - is also an unwitting player in a murderous feud played out in the shadows and margins of our world, and may prove to be its decisive weapon.
Metaphysical thriller, meditation on mortality and chronicle of our self-devouring times, this kaleidoscopic novel crackles with the invention and wit that have made David Mitchell one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. Here is fiction at its most spellbinding and memorable best.
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike's own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been - Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that...
Paul Colgan - Publisher
Wasn't the twentieth century the most violent in history? In his extraordinary, epic book Steven Pinker shows us that this is wrong, telling the story of humanity in a completely new and unfamiliar way. From why cities make us safer to how books bring about peace, Pinker weaves together history, philosophy and science to examine why we are less likely to die at another's hand than ever before, how it happened and what it tells us about our very natures.
Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us.
We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?
In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.
Adam Wells - Freelancer
Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it and bringing a schooner which sails over and through the island rainforest. The village has gone. The Nation as it was has gone. Now there's just Mau, who wears barely anything, a trouserman girl who wears far too much, and an awful lot of big misunderstandings...
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...
Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken.
But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.
Anthony Caruana - Freelancer
In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called 10,000-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence.
Along the way, Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not, and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete’s will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.
Chris Jager - Lifehacker Editor
Set 300 years before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire, FIRE AND BLOOD is the definitive history of the Targaryens in Westeros as told by Archmaester Gyldayn, and chronicles the conquest that united the Seven Kingdoms under Targaryen rule through to the Dance of the Dragons: the Targaryen civil war that nearly ended their dynasty forever.
It was a clash of arms that would echo through the millennia: a hard-fought conflict born of love, pride, greed and revenge; a decade-long siege of the ancient world's greatest city from which nobody will escape unscathed.
As urgent and passionate as if told for the first time, international besteller Colleen McCullough breathes life into legend, swinging our sympathies from Greece to Troy and back again as they move inexorably towards a fate not even the gods themselves can avert. Here are Greek princess Helen, sensuous and self-indulgent, who deserts a dull husband for the sake of the equally self-indulgent Trojan prince Paris; the haunted warrior Achilles; the heroically noble Hektor; the subtle and brilliant Odysseus; Priam, King of Troy, doomed to make the wrong decisions for the right reasons; and Agamemnon, King of Kings, who consents to the unspeakable to launch his thousand ships, incurring the terrifying wrath of his wife, Klytemnestra.
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