Best Books of June: "Everything Matters!" and "The Strain"

Who knew that June could be such an ominous month? My two picks for our Best of the Month feature are about the end of days. So, the book for you, really depends on how you want to go out--by flaming comet, or bloodsucking virus.

 Everything Matters!, Ron Currie Jr.'s debut novel about a guy who learns the exact date of the end of the world on the day of his birth, is one of those books where you fall in love with every character--especially Junior's stoic, devoted father. In one of my favorite scenes, Junior recognizes how knowledge of the end of the world has colored every day of his life through the help of one of the most evocative characters I've come across this year--a wry, omniscient, unnamed "we" that I've been likening to a Greek chorus:

"As you watch it becomes apparent that blue is the predominant shade of your life, nearly ubiquitous...Your life is so blue it looks like a James Cameron movie...For you, there is no anger, no joy, no indifference. There's never been anything but the sorrow of loss, paid over and over and always in advance, and your determination to go forth in the face of that sorrow. There is nothing heroic about this doggedness; there may well be, in fact, something cowardly concealed within it. Either way, you suddenly recognize--and appreciate--that more than anything else, this relentless slogging forward into life's headwind makes you truly your father's son."

 The Strain, is an apocalyptic novel of another sort, but just as fun to read. The end isn't just coming, it's stalking you. The gory brainchild of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan is the first of a trilogy--one that is sure to have fans counting down the days until each installment. I can pinpoint the moment I knew I would love this book. In Chapter 3, a plane lands at JFK and then goes dark. A baggage handler named Lo walks up a ramp to the rear exit door:

"All of a sudden it got real silent--so silent that Lo pulled down her big-muff headphones, just to be certain. She thought she heard pounding coming from inside the plane, but realized it was just the beating of her own heart....She shined her light on the long row of windows. Every interior shade was pulled down. That was strange. She was spooked now....she had a fleeting yet palpable and cold sensation of standing in the presence of a dragonlike beast. A sleeping demon that was only pretending to be asleep...Then she noticed that one of the shades was up now...Inside the plane, the darkness stirred...And she understood it then, unequivocally: something in there was going to eat her...."

My interview with Everything Matters! author Ron Currie, Jr. will be posted later this week. While I have not yet had the pleasure of speaking with Guillermo del Toro or Chuck Hogan about The Strain, we have a couple of video clips posted on the page for the book. Fans will also enjoy watching del Toro and Craig Ferguson geeking out over Lovecraft and "scary" vampires in this Late Late Show clip. --Daphne

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