recommended reads

Steven Schwartz: Little Raw Souls

Here’s a link I forgot to post last week. Steven Schwartz’s Little Raw Souls. We’ve got a review, an interview and full audio on this one. Enjoy!

Recommended Reads: Jan. 22

Nevada Barr: The Rope. In Anna Pigeon, Barr has created one of the most oThe Toperiginal  and enjoyable protagonists in the mystery genre. With each book set in a different state park, fans have followed Pigeon’s adventures through more than a dozen novels. This time, Barr takes us back to 1995, where it all began for Pigeon. First published in 2012, the audiobook edition, released today, promises a thrilling wilderness adventure.


Jeremiah Ostriker and Simon Mitton: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe. In a time of dizzying scientific discovery, it’s hard to keep up with the latest information. And sure, dark matter and dark energy sound cool, but what the hell is it? Well, for starters, it’s what makes up most of our universe. Never mind the dark side of the moon. Ostriker, a Princeton astrophysicist, and Mitton, a science historian, chronicle the ongoing trek into the ultimate dark.December's Thorn


Phillip DePoy: December’s Thorn. On a cold, snowy night, a strange woman shows up at Fever Devilin’s door claiming to be his wife. He offers her a seat by the fire, brews some tea… and the seventh installment of the series, centered around a Georgia folklorist, begins.

Recommended Reads 1.01.13

Welcome to a new year and a new installment of Recommended Reads. Here are some new releases to get you started on that 2013 reading list:

Unusual Uses For Olive Oil is the latest novel from the inimitable Alexander McCall Olive OilSmith, author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Detailing the further adventures of Professor Dr von Igelfeld, the novel evokes the joy of earlier installments in the series, such as The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs.

And as with that book, daschunds are featured prominently (as you can probably tell by the cover).

In 2012, Lawrence M. Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, published A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, which details theories surrounding the origin of the universe.

PUniverseresenting scientific data in an accessible way, the paperback edition comes out today, featuring a new preface regarding the Higgs particle discovery and an afterword by the great Richard Dawkins.

Of course, this book will appeal to intellectual types, but is of value to all, as it engages the reader with the latest scientific theories.

Recommended Reads 11.13

With the holiday shopping season imminent, publishers are bringing out the big guns in coming weeks. Recommended Reads offers a sampling of some of today’s new releases, great for personal pleasure or holiday gifts.

Ian McEwan can turn any setting into a simmering pot of dread, but his best works tend to be set in war-torn 20th century Europe (The Innocent, Atonement). His new novel, Sweet Tooth, concerns Cold War intrigue and romance. Featuring a female protagonist, McEwan puts his young student to work undercover for MI-5. She finds herself engaged in cultural and emotional warfare.

The Inexplicables, the fifth installment of Cherie Priest‘s Clockwork Century series, finds Rector “Wreck ’em” Sherman about to be discharged from the orphanage. Feeling guilt over his friend’s death, Sherman plunges into a dystopia of drugs and the undead.

Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy gets the graphic novel treatment, with each book in the series set to be re-imagined in two-part, hardcover illustration. Makes sense: Lisbeth Salander is a comic book wet dream, and the majestic vistas of Sweden should look amazing in ink. Today, Book One of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hits shelves. Illustrator Denise Mina has previously inked Hellblazer, A Sickness in the Family and other works of noir fiction.

Cue the Singularity: the enigmatic inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil returns with How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. Here, the author explores reverse-engineering the human brain, which could be applied to creating more intelligent machines for the bio-mech future.

Ensuing Chapters 9.8.12

Stop a moment. Breathe. Deeper now. Sure, it’s still north of 90 in Colorado, but as the days die quicker, a liminal chill fills the soul. For my money, you can keep summer and winter. But autumn…

The overdone cliché in book reviewing is the summer reading list. I’m not sure who started it, or who all these people are reading at the beach, but I’m certainly as guilty as the rest. But truly, the best time to indulge in the written word is autumn, with its cooler climes, longer nights and olfactory-fueled melancholia.

And aren’t books always better when paired with a hot mug of tea?

Some of my favorite September/October memories are of spending Friday nights among the stacks at the Boulder Book Store. As a youth, my friend and I would drive a half hour from our book-deprived hometown in Pennsylvania to Twice-Loved Books in Youngstown, Ohio. And some of the best autumn reading I’ve acquired at Denver’s Tattered Cover, or the Poudre Library District in Fort Collins.

As an avid reader of horror, I often find my favorite books marginalized on the shelves—except during the fall. For two months, the storefront displays boast the books that make my year-round reading list.

You will find plenty of horror previewed here at Ensuing Chapters, but there’s a wealth of diverse autumn gold coming your way in the following weeks.

Sept. 3

Last year, we lost one of the great journalists of our time, and one of my personal heroes, Christopher Hitchens. This champion of reason was known for his bold reporting on war and religion, and was equally brave in the face of cancer. Published on Sept. 4, Mortality will appeal to Hitch’s loyal readers, but is also of interest to anyone who’s lost someone to cancer (e.g. nearly everyone).

Few writers have captured the depth and beauty of the natural world like transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau. His new book—yes, new book—October, or Autumnal Tints, is a lecture he gave near the end of his life. He envisioned it one day being released in print with accompanying illustrations.

That day was Sept. 3.

His tribute to the greatest of all months, penned in the autumn of his own life, reframes the changing colors and dying leaves as symbols of maturity rather than decay. Reading Thoreau is always a treat. Reading his musings on autumn in autumn seems like paradise.

In the song “Little Too Clean,” Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner croons, “Don’t you know dirt will find you/ and dirt reminds you/ that dirt will always be there.” It’s the song that keeps looping in my head while reading the jacket of Moises Velasquez-Manoff’s new book, An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases.

Exploring one of the big issues of our time, science writer Velasquez-Manoff uncovers a shocking rise in food allergies and autoimmune disorders, such as Celiac and type-1 diabetes, and equally shocking treatments that rely on parasites rather than pharmaceuticals. One of the unexpected contributors to our sickness, he finds, is that sanitation and antibiotics have altered our inner ecologies to the point that we lack the organisms that keep us in check.

We have become a little too clean—or maybe even a lot too clean.

Sept. 10

What do we know about Lee Child’s compelling protagonist, Jack Reacher? He likes travel, he’s a sharpshooter with a wicked double-tap, and no matter where he roams, he always ends up in the same place: trouble.

Celebrating the 17th installment of the Jack Reacher series, plus related short stories (personal fave: “James Penney’s New Identity” from Thriller), Child has climbed from the crime writing underground to the top of the best-seller list. He is likely to summit once again with the release of A Wanted Man on Sept. 11.

I am an avid reader of Child’s books. I love the Jack Reacher franchise. But when the peripatetic maverick hits the big screen, I hate that it will be Tom Cruise (boo, hiss) portraying Reacher.

Who’s really writing this book blurb? I thought it was me, but one might want to reconsider after reading Michael S. Gazzaniga’s Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. Gazzaniga surveys the science, psychology and ethics at work in our thoughts and behaviors.

Who’s in Charge? is a work of great importance as breakthroughs in neuroscience have revealed greater complexities than ever imagined at work in the brain. And launched the next great frontier of philosophical inquiry.

Published last year, the paperback reprint hits shelves Sept. 11.

Legendary journalist Bob Woodward goes from Deep Throat to Deep Gridlock in The Price of Politics, his 17th book. In this detailed account, Woodward chronicles Washington’s attempts to rescue the economy these past few years.

Talk about the ideal primer to the madness of election season. For the more devout political readers (and I know a few of you), Woodward’s new book is political porn to get you in the mood as we steamroll toward November.

We’ll preview other September releases in the coming weeks. Please follow Ensuing Chapters to receive our weekly previews, reviews and interviews.