Children

Fresh Ink: New Books Out September 25, 2012

It seems things have quieted down a bit in the aftermath of the New Book Avalanche of early September. But behold! Good stuff for the kiddos out today, and ’tis the week of J.K. Rowling’s first foray into writing for grown-ups. Accio new releases!

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little, Brown and Co)

This one doesn’t actually come out until Thursday, and because of the crazy one-day, one-time laydown rules the publisher set for it, there shall be no midnight release parties. But! You’ll be able to bop into your local bookstore first thing Thursday morning and pick up a copy.

What’s it about? Well, I only know as much as you do–no review copies of this baby, you know. A man dies in his early forties, leaving his town in shock. His empty seat on the parish council results in “the biggest war the town has yet seen” and “an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations.”

It’s a mystery. Will it be any good? Let’s find out together later this week.

 

Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty by Harris Wittels (Grand Central)

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’re familiar with the humblebrag, even if you call it by a different name. The humblebrag is the woman complaining about how frequently men hit on her, the guy noting, “Just filed my taxes. Biggie was right, mo money mo problems.”

In the spirit of “If you can’t beat ‘em, mock ‘em,” Harris Wittels named the phenomenon and created a Twitter account dedicated to retweeting humblebrags. It’s public shaming for the digital age. This book documents the history of the humblebrag, imagines what humblebrags might have looked like in other era, and is guaranteed to make you laugh and cringe and maybe even recognize yourself.

 

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail–but Some Don’t by Nate Silver (The Penguin Press)

Fill the Freakonomics-shaped hole in your reading life with this book from wunderkind statistician Nate Silver. Silver explores why many predictions fail (hint: we are overly confident in our ability to make good ones) and how we can improve them by embracing uncertainty.

Seeking truth through data, Silver presents top forecasters in many fields and evaluates what lies behind their success. What makes some people better at filtering through the noise to find the actual signal? What can we do to be more like them, and more successful? This one’s good for stats wonks and curious lay-readers alike.

 

 

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman (Quirk Books)

Before we start talking about what this is about, go right now and look at the awesome hologram treatment for the cover. You want the book already, don’t you?

Charles Gilman kicks off his new middle grade series with the adventures of 7th-grader Robert Arthur, who finds rats leaping from lockers, students disappearing, a labyrinth in the library, and a science teacher who just might be a monster in disguise. Adult readers and budding sci-fi fans will recognize winking send-ups to Lovecraft in the page of this almost-too-cool-for-school–and really quite funny–read. If you’ve never forgotten what it’s like to be convinced that there is magic all around and beasts lurking in every shadow, you don’t want to miss the Lovecraft Middle School series.