New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

With so many good books being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call (717 436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

“Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell” by Neal Stephenson

As the founder and chairman of a video game company, Dodge has a pretty sweet life. He has money to burn and a loving relationship with his niece, Zula, and grandniece, Sophia. So when he dies unexpectedly, there are a lot of people to mourn him, including his friend Corvallis Kawasaki, who is also the executor of his will. To make matters worse (or, to say the least, more complicated), there’s something unexpected in Dodge’s last wishes. It turns out that in his youth he put it in writing that he wanted his brain to be preserved until such technology existed that his consciousness could be uploaded into a computer. And much to everyone’s surprise, that technology isn’t so far off after all. Years later, Sophia grows up to follow in her clever grand-uncle’s footsteps and figures out a way to turn on Dodge’s brain. It is at this point that the novel splits into two narratives: “Meatspace,” or what we would call the real world, and “Bitworld,” inhabited by Dodge (now called “Egdod”) and increasing numbers of downloaded minds. Stephenson (co-author: “The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O,” 2017; Seveneves, 2015, etc.) is known for ambitious books, and this doorstop of a novel is certainly no exception. Life in Bitworld is more reminiscent of high fantasy than science fiction as the ever evolving narrative plays with the daily reality of living in a digital space. Would you have special abilities like a mythical god? Join your aura together with other souls and live as a hive mind? Create hills and rivers from nothing? Destroy your enemies with tech-given powers that seem magical? Readers looking for a post-human thought experiment might be disappointed with the references to ancient mythology, but those ready for an endlessly inventive and absorbing story are in for an adventure they won’t soon forget. If you enjoyed HBO’s Westworld, you will find this book appealing. You can find this book in the Adult Fiction section.

Bookshots …

Here are some quick book recommendations that include star ratings I give them or whether you should skip it, borrow it, or buy it.

“Backlash” (Scot Harvath #19) by Brad Thor (4 stars)

“The Bookshop on the Shore” by Jenny Colgan (4 stars)

“Cross My Heart” (Legacy of Faith Novel) by Robin Lee Hatcher (3 stars)

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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