Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading
The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood (via A Work in Progress)
Ooh, I just love Margaret Atwood so I was delighted to hear that she's got a new book!
The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power.
The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners — a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life — has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.
Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers....
Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away...
By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.
Let the Earth Tremble at Its Centers - Gonzalo Celorio (via Counterbalance)
Some travel literature
Professor Juan Manuel Barrientos prefers footsteps to footnotes. Fighting a hangover, he manages to keep his appointment to lead a group of students on a walking lecture among the historic buildings of downtown Mexico City. When the students fail to show up, however, he undertakes a solo tour that includes more cantinas than cathedrals. Unable to resist either alcohol itself or the introspection it inspires, Professor Barrientos muddles his personal past with his historic surroundings, setting up an inevitable conclusion in the very center of Mexico City.
First published in Mexico in the late 1990s, And Let the Earth Tremble at Its Centers was immediately lauded as a contemporary masterpiece in the long tradition of literary portraits of Mexico City. It is a book worthy of its dramatic title, which is drawn from a line in the Mexican national anthem.
Gonzalo Celorio first earned a place among the leading figures of Mexican letters for his scholarship and criticism, and careful readers will recognize a scholar's attention to accuracy within the novel's dyspeptic descriptions of Mexico City. The places described are indeed real (this edition includes a map that marks those visited in the story), though a few have since closed or been put to new uses. Dick Gerdes's elegant translation now preserves them all for a new audience.
Clara's Grand Tour: Travels with a Rhinoceros in Eighteenth-Century Europe - Glynis Ridley (via Vulpes Libres)
And what sounds like a really cute non-fiction book
In 1741, an enterprising Dutch sea captain transported a young, female Indian rhinoceros from Assam to Europe where she was displayed before everyone from peasants to princes. In an age before railways and modern roads, the three-ton Clara traveled in an enormous coach drawn by eight horses. For seventeen years she journeyed across mainland Europe and Britain. She became a favorite of heads of state, including Frederick the Great and Louis XV; she modeled for scientific portraits and etchings; she inspired poems, songs, and fashions; and she was duly immortalized in everything from tin coins to the finest porcelain. She was a star. Her tour involved unprecedented logistical planning, as no one knew how to care for this largest of land mammals. A rhinoceros can eat up to 150 pounds of vegetation a day, and Clara developed an uncommon fondness for oranges, beer, and tobacco. Later, when Clara's popularity threatened to decline, her owner spread the news of Clara's certain and imminent death, which provoked an upsurge in interest, sympathy ... and bookings. Awarded the prestigious Institute of Historical Research Prize, Glynis Ridley's sparkling history brings Clara's tragicomic story vividly to life.