Notable Reads: November 4, 2011

1Q84 was originally published in three separate volumes in Japan in 2009, with its first printing selling out the day it was released. Written by Haruki Murakami as an homage to George Orwell’s 1984 (the letter Q and the number nine have the same pronunciation in Japanese). A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 – “Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. Just released on October 25th, it’s had a lot of hype and success overseas, and definitely worth a read.

The Night Eternal
Didn’t get enough vampires this Halloween season? Then it might be time for you to check out the third and final novel in The Strain Trilogy, The Night Eternal. In this last instalment, it’s been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in the previous novel (The Strain), and the entire world now lies on the brink of extinction. The sun piercing through the poisoned atmosphere for only two hours a day has bred the perfect environment for vampires. Written by the Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), this series has been acclaimed as one of the best thriller series’ in years.

Damned Nations
In 1995, 25-year-old Samantha Nutt volunteered for UNICEF in Somalia. When she saw gangs of young men roaming the streets armed with rocket launchers and a woman in a clinic line holding a dead baby, she was instantly spurred onto a lifetime of passionate advocacy for children and families in war-torn areas around the world. In her recent book, Damned Nations, Dr. Samantha Nutt notes her observations over the course of 15 years of hands-on care in some of the world’s most violent flash points while building the world-class non-profit War Child. Intertwined with her personal experience, she lays out real, lasting solutions to these problems and shows how to create a more progressive, inclusive and respectful worldview.

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People
Released last week by one of our favourite authors, Douglas Coupland (Generation X and JPod), and co-author Graham Roumieu, comes this new book Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People. (How could we not include it?) The series of short stories includes seven deliciously wicked tales featuring seven highly improbable and inappropriate characters, including Donald the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box, Hans the Weird Exchange Student, Brandon the Action Figure with Issues, and Kevin the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals. If you are over the age of consent, seriously weird, or just like to laugh, you’ll love the unlovable miscreants who unleash their dark and unruly desires in these hilarious tales.

Great by Choice
Released earlier this month, Jim Collins’ new book Great by Choice studies why some companies thrive in uncertainty and chaos, and others don’t. A follow up to his worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Collins writes based on nine years of research, peppered with analysis and engaging stories, Highlighting the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable and fast-moving times, it sounds like a great read for any of you YEs out there.