On My Radar

On My Radar #36

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings – Casper Henderson

I need this for my writing. That’s how I’m justifying it anyway.

From the Axolotl to the Zebrafish, our planet contains a host of barely imagined beings: real creatures that are often more astonishing that anything dreamt of in the pages of a medieval bestiary. Ranging from the depths of the ocean to the most arid corners of the land, Caspar Henderson captures the beauty and bizzareness of the many living forms we thought we knew and some we could never have contemplated, inviting us to better imagine the precarious world we inhabit.

Girl Defective – Simmone Howell

We, the Martin family, were like inverse superheroes, marked by our defects. Dad was addicted to beer and bootlegs. Gully had “social difficulties” that manifested in his wearing a pig snout mask 24-7. I was surface clean but underneath a weird hormonal stew was simmering…

It’s summer in St Kilda. Fifteen-year-old Sky is looking forward to great records and nefarious activities with Nancy, her older, wilder friend. Her brother – Super Agent Gully – is on a mission to unmask the degenerate who bricked the shop window. Bill the Patriarch seems content to drink while the shop slides into bankruptcy. A poster of a mysterious girl and her connection to Luke, the tragi-hot new employee sends Sky on an exploration into the dark heart of the suburb. Love is strange. Family Rules. In between there are teenage messes, rock star spawn, violent fangirls, creepy old guys and accidents waiting to happen. If the world truly is going to hell in a hand-basket then at least the soundtrack is kicking. Sky Martin is Girl Defective: funny, real and dark at the edges.

The Yearning – Kate Belle

It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.

Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until erotic love notes begin to arrive in his letterbox.

Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. Each must make a choice, the consequences of which will haunt them until they meet again twenty years later.

Lexicon – Max Berry

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell–who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry’s most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love–whatever the cost.

Egghead – Bo Burnham

A strange and charming collection of hilariously absurd poetry, writing, and illustration from one of today’s most popular young comedians…

EGGHEAD: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone

Bo Burnham was a precocious teenager living in his parents’ attic when he started posting material on YouTube. 100 million people viewed those videos, turning Bo into an online sensation with a huge and dedicated following. Bo taped his first of two Comedy Central specials four days after his 18th birthday, making him the youngest to do so in the channel’s history. Now Bo is a rising star in the comedy world, revered for his utterly original and intelligent voice. And, he can SIIIIIIIIING!

In EGGHEAD, Bo brings his brand of brainy, emotional comedy to the page in the form of off-kilter poems, thoughts, and more. Teaming up with his longtime friend, artist, and illustrator Chance Bone, Bo takes on everything from death to farts in this weird book that will make you think, laugh and think, “why did I just laugh?”

Princess of Thorns – Stacey Jay

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

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