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HarrisonIn this edition, futuristic crime-fighting, swan people, yetis, and more.

Adrian Liang: Two weird and wonderful books are high on my weekend reading list. This month Kim Harrison returns to the world of the Hollows with a prequel novel, The Turn. I met Harrison at Book Expo a few years ago, and she was so funny and interesting that I immediately become a personal fan of hers in addition to being a fan of her books. If you read Patricia Briggs or Kelley Armstrong, I suggest giving Harrison a try. Another one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, has a brand-new book out called Snapshot, and I remember him being very excited about the concept when I interviewed him last fall. In Snapshot, advanced technology can re-create crime scenes—but more important, the investigators can go inside the crime scene to find hidden evidence. A run-of-the-mill inquiry spirals out of control when Anthony and Chaz discover an even bigger crime that they are ordered not to investigate. So of course they have to.

Erin Kodicek: An upcoming biography on Angela Carter came across my desk this past week. Carter, who died in 1992 from lung cancer at the age of 51, is still considered one of the best British writers of the last century. (I'm itching to remove "British" from that sentence, because I think it would be just as accurate.) Known for her ribald sense of humor and keen appreciation of the absurd, these qualities are on full display in Nights at the Circus, one of my favorites of her many, marvelous works. In it, crowds flock to Colonel Kearney's circus to witness an "aerialiste extraordinaire" who is part human, part swan. Or is she? A journalist goes undercover to find out, and hijinks, and an unlikely love connection, ensue. This may sound a bit over the (big) top, but Carter's profoundly skilled pen, and wild imagination, makes 'Nights' literary magic. If anything can wrench me from my Facebook feed this weekend--just the thought of that is bringing my blood pressure down--it's this modern classic. 

Jon Foro: It’s probably unsurprising that I spend a lot of time working on my laptop, browsing through the two-dimensional universe of my monitor. So long weekends - and I’m taking a long one – are valuable forays into the physical world. In that spirit, I’m doubling down with David Sax’s The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, which looks at the backlash against the Digital Age and the resurgence of things more tangible than electrons and photons: vinyl recordings, paper books, and film photography, to name a few. You can call me a hypocrite if I read it on my Kindle.

Sarah Harrison Smith: The weather’s been cold and blustery where I live, and my family has been on a deep-dive into comfort food. The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles, by Andrea Nguyen, out from Ten Speed Press this month, is a colorful, beautifully photographed inducement to healthier winter eating. Careful but not discouragingly difficult instructions for creating flavorful broths and layering ingredients convinced me I didn’t have to search out a Vietnamese restaurant in order to enjoy this cuisine. The Pho Cookbook was a treat for the eyes as well as the palate. Enjoy!

Seira Wilson: Lately I’ve been in the mood for some laughs so it might be time to revisit Christopher Moore’s novel, A Dirty Job.  Charlie Asher is your average Joe and he likes it that way, so how on earth does he end up with the job of Death?  It’s a tricky business and a dirty job (I know, I know…), but I love Chris Moore’s wacky satirical style and this one always makes me laugh.  There’s also a sequel that I’m hoping to have time for called Secondhand Souls—sounds like just what I need before a week of kids with no school and too much energy…

Chris Schluep: Philip Kerr has another Bernie Gunther novel publishing in April. If you don’t know who Bernie Gunther is, I pulled this description of the series from Goodreads:

BERNARD GUNTHER is a former soldier (he fought with the Wehrmacht on the Turkish Front in the first World War) and ex-cop (an inspector for the Kriminalpolizei) now working as a private eye in the pre-World War II years of Berlin, specializing in the missing persons. Due to the rise of National Socialism, business is coming along nicely, thank you, even if Bernie doesn't seem to be making many friends with the powers that be. These books offer a harsh look at and a hard criticism of Nazism.

While I’m looking forward to the new novel, I’ve just ordered and received (from Amazon) an old, out-of-stock-but-still-available-on-Amazon novel that Philip Kerr wrote back in the late nineties. It’s called Esau, and it involves a yeti. The customer reviews aren’t that good, or half of them aren’t, but Philip Kerr wrote a yeti novel. So I’m in.

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