Hurricane bookshelf: November picks

It’s that time of year again – when the weather outside isn’t debilitating and you’d rather do something – anything – than study for your midterms. Never fear, because Hurricane Bookshelf is here with all of your picks for a fabulously well-read break.

“Mockingjay” (Suzanne Collins; Scholastic) is the final entry in the author’s “Hunger Games” trilogy. Set in the post-apocalyptic state of Panem, “Mockingjay” concludes the saga of Katniss, a competitor in the state’s “Hunger Games” in which children are forced to fight to the death. One should start with the series’ first novel, the appropriately named “The Hunger Games,” but “Mockingjay,” released Aug. 24, is an engrossing and worthy conclusion to the series, which is being turned into feature films.

“Life” (Keith Richards; Little, Brown and Company) is the aptly titled memoir of one of rock music’s most infamous bad boys, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Sure to touch on the highs and lows of one of the 20th century’s most enduring bands and the personal victories and vices of its most notorious member, “Life” is for anyone who loves to live vicariously through others.

“The Fateful Alliance” (Hermann Beck; Berghahn) is for anyone with an inner history nerd. Discussing one of the least-known aspects of the Nazi Party’s rise to power, Beck touches on Hitler’s coalition with the German conservative party – a truly fateful alliance that changed the world forever. Released in paperback Dec. 1, the book is eminently readable despite being for a more specialized audience. You can even get the book autographed by the author himself; he is interim chair of UM’s history department.

“Android Karenina” (Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters; Quirk) follows in the great tradition set forth by such works of literary luminescence as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”: it takes vaguely insufferable classics and updates them with supernatural elements. Released June 8, “Android Karenina” takes Tolstoy’s heroine and turns her into a robot.  It’s a lot more fun than the original novel, but please don’t tell the English department I’m recommending it.

Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at