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Recommended Reads: The Infamous D.B. Cooper Case, Kissinger on China, and a Must for Sookie Fans

Rob Levy works at Subterranean Books in University City. Each month he recommends five books.

A survey of interesting titles, must reads and best sellers from , University’s City’s only neighborhood bookstore.

Skyjack: The Hunt For D.B. Cooper By Geoffrey Gray

One of America’s most interesting unsolved cases is back in the spotlight thanks to Geoffrey Gray’s carefully researched read. Gray’s work of nonfiction is so enjoyable because it reads like a contemporary spy thriller.

D.B. Cooper literally vanished from thin air in 1971 after jumping out of a hijacked plane with $200,000. Since parachuting from that plane he has not been seen or heard from again, setting into motion one of the most intense manhunts in American history

Gray has been tirelessly working the case, turning over every stone that could lead to Cooper’s whereabouts. He has tracked the case from its roots by interviewing every living eyewitness and examining every shred of evidence that could become a new lead.

As a result Skyjack lays out an interesting and compelling argument as to who Cooper was and how he got away.

Crime fiction buffs and amateur sleuths will instantly become enraptured with this book that takes Cooper out of the folktale world and brings him into a world of facts and graspable reality.

Gray’s style sometimes is a bit wordy but nonetheless gives readers a better understanding of why Cooper remains such an interesting character study amidst one of America’s Greatest unsolved cases.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion By Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris’ True Blood book and TV series have made her a household name. In addition to fame and fortune her work, which rivals Twilight in popularity, has also afforded her the luxury of free reign to write books in other genres.

Her creation, Sookie Stackhouse, has become a literary phenomenon of its own, rivaling Harry Potter as a character adored by a devoted fan base eager to soak up Harris’ every word.

This books serves as the ultimate gift for True Blood from its creator. It’s a compendium, reference guide and continuation of the series all rolled into one. Every aspect of The Sookie Stackhouse Companion has been carefully crafted with her fans (and their cash) in mind.

Fans are treated to cooking recipes, trivia questions and interviews with both Harris and True Blood’s TV series creator, Alan Ball, with questions sent in from legions of fans.

Harris’ hardcore fans will not be disappointed with the book. This compendium includes a map of the fictional town of Bon Temps complete with a rundown of the many characters that live in the community. Also included is a novella, which helps flesh out the developed story arcs and giving readers a taste of what is to come in the future.

As Harris’s Southern Gothic vampire series becomes an even bigger phenomenon this book plays a key role. Essentially it serves both as a continuation of her characters adventures and a gift to her fans that have stood by her.

Harris taken great pains to ensure that this book is filled with more then cream filling that gets a few extra dollars. She has made a sincere attempt to create a book that stands along with the series and lets her fans into the world of its creation. Her devotees will not be let down.

The Kid By Sapphire

You can feel the residue of Claireece “Precious” Jones's emotional tragedy all over Sapphire’s latest work, The Kid, which picks up where Push left off and never looks back.

The aforementioned kid is Abdul Jamal Louis Jones, Precious’s son, who grows up with his own set of abuses, problems and internal demons. Despite living a rough life of abuse and neglect, he sets out to make his mark in the world as a professional dancer.

This sets the reader on a journey of abuse, pain and powerful emotional conflict, which leads to a road of redemption through dance. Abdul is flawed though; he has a penchant for violence and brutality, which gets the better of him.

Sapphire explores Abdul’s awkward adolescence against the backdrop of urban violence and physical abuse. This allows Sapphire again to drive home her point that Abdul is the product of his environment.

Despite being riddled with torment and tumult, The Kid paints a real portrait of how tough inner city life can be. This environment, although bleak and pocked with a hard go of it does still gives us characters who use creativity and art as a means of escape.

On China By Henry Kissinger

Few people understand the nuances of American foreign policy with China like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

As the architect of the Nixon administration’s détente with China and the Soviet Union he dealt with Chinese government leaders on a regular basis and as a result developed an understanding of the history, culture, economics and politics of the world’s other giant superpower.

Kissinger notes that both countries need to define the nature of their relationship. However, it is a complex road for the two nations since they are so fundamentally different in attitude and political climate.

You don’t need to be a Republican or have a degree in foreign affairs to be enthralled by Kissinger’s book. It’s crisply written and to the point.

Kissinger sticks to his guns as he explains why the two cultures clash so frequently on the world stage. He also argues why engaging China is so vital to American security as China grows increasingly more powerful economically and politically.

His personal experiences serve as blueprint of sorts for further engagement and a deeper understanding of a nation that is blatantly becoming more expansive and consumptive in the 21st century. He argues that aggressively engaging China is the only way avoid an inevitable confrontation.

On China allows Kissinger a valuable opportunity to provide a fascinating Chinese history lesson that enables readers to understand the similarities and discrepancies between two nations he believes can “build a new world and not shake it.”

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

If you are looking for a writer to fill the void between your J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman book collection then consider this surrealist fantasy from Erin Morgenstern.

The Night Circus is a mesmerizing work of science fiction and fantasy that blends the drama and tension of a novel with the ethereal and mesmerizing charm of classic fantasy. Morgenstern wears her influences on her sleeves but nonetheless weaves an intricate story of love, deception, horror and magic that is as agile and acrobatic as the circus itself.

Since their youth Celia and Marcos have been dueling magicians in The Night Circus, Le Cirque des Rêves. Neither of them really knows why they are competing against each other but they do know that after duking it out since childhood they are falling in love. Their lifelong competition has forged a unique bond that unbeknownst to them will be tested to the extreme by forces beyond their control.

Celia and Marcos are just a part of a mysterious circus that combines traditional circus acts with magical creatures in what can only truly be called The Creepiest Show on Earth. However, as the two magicians grow closer they realize that they are being manipulated in a great game of which neither has no idea why.

Reading the book you can feel the monochromatic nickolodeanesque atmosphere of this shifting classic circus created by Morgenstern. Her characters range from the magical and sinister to the freakish and bizarre. Her characters are well developed and mature as the adventure continues. The plot is a richly drawn out phantasmagoria of wonderment and mystical imagery.

The Night Circus is a whimsical, heartbreaking and intense novel from a rising imaginative voice in fiction.

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