For those of you needing something to do while you wait for the 2012 Super Bowl or for those of you needing something to read during the Super Bowl, we have some novels for you. Why? Because assuming there is great overlap between avid readers and avid sports fans, we want to make sure you all have some super reads to accompany the pre-game hype, the chili, the nachos, all those funky ads and the let-down once the game is over.
Some things these books have in common: neither novel is well-known among my friends or even among fellow book lovers/sellers I have encountered. Both novels take place in lands I have not yet been lucky enough to visit. Both novels are grounded in their location. Both novels draw on traditional folklore from their respective countries to weave a tale that remains with the reader for a long time. I believe both were even first novels for their respective authors. So this post is dedicated to these two amazing – even “super” – finds that are reminiscent of each other. We hope that flipping their pages is as enjoyable as waiting for those touchdowns, Super Bowl parties and amusing ads.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philip-Sendker ( Feb 2012). I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the English translation of this novel and I loved every word. I am now fully aware of why this has remained a bestselling novel in Germany, and I am extremely grateful someone translated it to English so that I was able to read it — as my German is non-existent.
The plot begins when a 30-something woman goes in search of her father who has mysteriously left his family and job in America to find his first love. The story continues in Burma where the daughter is met by a wise man who slowly reveals the incredible truth of her father’s childhood. In between these revelations, the daughter must reconcile her father’s story with the man she thought she knew. The characters and the beauty of Burma will remain with you long after you close this book. ~ Lisa Christie
When the Elephants Dance by Tessa Uriza Holthe (March 2002). This novel provides insight into Filipino culture in the waning days of World War II. How? By following the Karangalans – a family who huddles with their neighbors in the cellar of a house near Manila to wait out the war. The book alternates between 1) heart-wrenching looks at life during war as those hiding in the basement venture out to forage for much-needed food, water and news and, 2) spellbinding myths and legends the group uses to entertain each other while they wait for the war to end. The book is a testament to the power of stories in giving much-needed resolve to survive. ~ Lisa Christie
OK, for those of you reading this who need a sports book for your Super Bowl count down– here you go — John Feinstein’s young adult series. If possible, listen to them as an audio book. He narrates and that oh-so-familiar voice from his guest spots on NPR and It’s Only a Game, guides you well as you enjoy the mysteries that Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, his book smart, common sense endowed and avid sports fan teen heroes uncover as they cover America’s great sporting events: NCAA final four, Super Bowl, US Open. And, while we haven’t yet read it, we noticed that he also has a new book for adults One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game. He considers this not a memoir (he says he is too young for that), but more of an epilogue to many of his previous best sellers. ~ Lisa Christie