Happy Holidays from All of Us!
Monthly Archives: December 2012
Fifty Machines That Changed The Course Of History by Eric Chaline (ISBN: 9781770850903) The title says it all: except for just how utterly fascinating this book is!
The Big Short by Michael Lewis (ISBN 9780393338829) The acclaimed author of Moneyball and The Blind Side turns his sights on the housing bubble and what brought it down. The result is a story so surprisingly riviting that it actually made me unable to stop reading about the likes of credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations: no small feat indeed.
The Peter Principle by Laurence Peter (ISBN 9780062092069) This examination of hierarchies is just as funny and perceptive as it was upon its publication in 1969.
Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray (ISBN 9780307451309) Come along for the thrilling ride as Gray follows leads in an effort to uncover the identity of famous skyjacker D.B. Cooper.
Mail-Order Mysteries by Kirk Demarais (ISBN 9781608870264) The author compares the promises of the ads from the backs of comic books (for items like X-Ray Spex for example) with the reality of what you received when you actually placed orders for these items: a great idea for a book. Why didn’t I think of this?
Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds (ISBN 9780143036722)The great British music journalist explores the vibrant music of the unparalleled post-punk era of 1978-1984.
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (9780062188502 $26.99) An orchardist who has lost his family and lives alone; two sisters who escape the brothel where they have been held captive and seek shelter like skittish stray kittens on the orchardist’s land; an infant whom the orchardist raises as best he can; and the wise woman from town whose life is enmeshed with what happens at the farm struggle to make sense of their world and each other. In this evocative debut novel, author Amanda Coplin leaves much unspoken, yet because of her astonishing skill the reader is able to sense the underlying currents that are at the heart of this moving story.
John Saturnal’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (9780802120519 $26.00) Historical fiction at its best, this intricately woven tapestry of a book tells the story of the orphan son of an herbalist mother and his journey to become a master of the culinary arts. The book is thick with the smells and textures and tastes of early 17th century life in England. It is a tale of superstitions, intrigue and secrets. I found myself pulled deep into John Saturnal’s world.
What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher Beha (9781935639312 $15.00)When Sophie Wilder suddenly reappears in Charlie Blakeman’s life, he cautiously welcomes her back. Ten years since they last saw each other, they are now both vulnerable and confused about their paths. He is a not so successful writer. She is reeling from her experience taking care of a dying old man she barely knew. Gradually, they open to each other but then Sophie disappears. A modern ghost story. A meditation on belief. Compellingly told.
Defending Jacob by William Landay (9780385344227$26.00)Ostensibly a legal thriller – and I guarantee that you will not guess the ending – this is a novel that probes deeply into the relationship between parents and their children. How far do you go to defend a child? To believe in the goodness of that child? What if you doubt? Does one always doubt? What does it mean to protect that child? Jacob Berber is accused of murder. His father Andy, the Assistant DA, believes he is innocent and takes on his son’s defense. After that, nothing in this story is simple.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (9781451681734 $25.00)When I was ten, I longed to live in a lighthouse but I never imagined anything quite like this story: Tom and Isabel take up life in a remote lighthouse after Tom returns from the Western Front. They long for a child but Isabel suffers miscarriages and a heartbreaking stillbirth. And then, she hears a baby cry, a baby in a boat. A mesmerizing story.
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (978006220646 $3.99) An unconventional tale of orphans, vile villains, and mysteries.
Grimms Household Tales by The Brothers Grimm (9780712358583 $22.50) Classics tales that everyone loves.
The Annotated Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (9780393066005 $39.95) A fantastic adventure for kids of all ages with notes to the background of the story for an even richer reading experience.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (97800644049900 $7.99) Magic and adventure beyond the wardrobe.
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (9780141321684 $4.99) Shakespeare’s plays put into a story form that everyone can enjoy.
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (9780060734107 $6.99) A subtle retelling of Snow White in a singing kingdom with a treacherous mirror and a vain queen. This book features adventure, romance, and the importance of finding one’s own beauty.
Silhouettes from Popular Culture by Olly Moss (9781781164129 $16.95) Stunning silhouettes of most recognizable characters.
Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee (9780810995864 $29.95) A beautifully illustrated work combined with note on the fabulous folk-lore that inspired the artists.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (9780199537891 $9.95) The zany adventures of a knight errant.
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat and other stories by Edward Lear (9780712358767 $10.00)Wonderfully whimsical poetry by a lyrical master.
Norman Bridwell’s Clifford Collection by Norman Bridwell 9780545450133 $12.99 All Ages This isn’t just any collection of classic books; it is THE collection of classic books. THE ORIGINAL 6 Clifford books, as they were originally illustrated (yes, they look different and beyond lovely), complete with an introduction by Norman himself. The Clifford books were a love letter to Norman’s daughter, the REAL Emily Elizabeth, and now they can be a love letter for your child or grandchild. A perfect gift.
Unspoken: A story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole 9780545399975 $16.99 All Ages Turn the pages slowly. Listen to a story being whispered into your ear. A story of courage. A story of hope. A story of doing what is right in a world full of wrongs. This is the book that EVERYONE on my Holiday list is getting from me this year.
every day by David Levithan 9780307931887 $16.99 Ages 14+ Imagine every day waking up in a different body. A different face looks back at you from the mirror every morning. Every day, a new life, a new personality awaits. And yet…you are still you, trying to maintain that thread while living a different lie every 24 hours. Now imagine falling in love for the first time, and breaking all the rules you set for yourself to stay with that person and finally live a life that is only yours. Breathtaking and life affirming, this book takes no prisoners except for your heart.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 9780545424929 $18.99 Ages 14+ If you’ve discovered Maggie already, then congratulations—she is the BEST teen writer on the planet. If you have yet to meet her, now is the time. On many year end lists for the BEST YA BOOK THIS YEAR, The Raven Boys is all that and more. What would you do if you were told that your kiss would kill your first love? For Blue, that means not getting close to anyone…until she meets the Aglionby boys and becomes wrapped up in a mystery that they are trying to solve. The twist will leave you breathless, and a Maggie fan for life. BUY TWO COPIES—you will want to keep one for yourself.
Undead by Kirsty McKay 9780545381888 $17.99 Ages 14+ If you had told me that I would fall for a zombie end-of-the-world thriller, I would have laughed at you. Undead has me laughing for a different reason—fresh, funny, exciting, suspenseful, somehow romantic throughout all the gore, this might very well be my favorite read of the year. Because it was a happy surprise to find something so fun with something so unexpected. And next fall, book two: Unfed. Die young, stay hungry. Hungry for more good books.
The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen 9780393062922 $23.95 Good things come in small packages. This slim novel is a gem, and a must read. The four inhabitants of a very small, snow covered island are living with a secret. Twelve-year-old Minou is determined to find out where her mother went. Wistful and bittersweet, a ghost of a novel that will long haunt your dreams.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 9780307744432 $15.00 The Night Circus casts a spell from the first sentence: “The circus arrives without warning.” What circus? Where does it come from? This is that book that you fall into, head first. When you turn the last page, and are pulled out of the spell, you look around, blinking, thinking you should be inside a big, striped tent, sipping on apple cider and wondering at the magic all around you. Erin Morgenstern weaves a world that you wish was real, and that deep down, you know must be real. Because you were there.
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious 9781555534004 $17.95 Every winter, I want to re-read an old favorite—a book that wraps itself around me and keeps me safe and warm no matter how frightful the weather outside may be. One of my go-to books is Peyton Place—a small town New England book about, well, small towns, and the people who live there. Delicious, quite scandalous, and completely un-put-downable.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 9780307588364 $25.00 I’ve been hearing people rave about Gillian Flynn and her amazing ability to weave a story for a few years, but it wasn’t until Gone Girl that I actually gave her a try. And I think I have found a new author to love. Dark, twisted, funny, smart, sexy—Gillian delivers all that and more. I COULD NOT stop thinking about this book. I gasped out loud at parts, and stayed up way past my bedtime to discover all the twists and turns, trying to guess what would happen before it happened. This woman knows how to tell a story. I know that I will be on the lookout for whatever she writes next, even if it’s just scrambled words on a cocktail napkin.
barefoot contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten 9780307464873 $35.00 This Contessa is more of a Goddess. I have every single one of her cookbooks, and use them often. This one is particularly a great gift for an unsure cook (or even someone who loves to mess around with the mixing bowls). Easy, delicious, and palate pleasing. And did I mention the best feature? A picture for every dish! (This is a MUST for me when buying a cookbook.)
I still fondly remember the “sure, sure” looks that I received when going to the library to pay for their copy of A Gentle Madness that I somehow misplaced (I, really did lose it). That was about 20 thousand volumes ago and my collection has most likely passed the level of the local library. Anyway, here are my picks for a few recent books about books:
My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount (ISBN 9780316200905, $21.24)It is always interesting to see what writers and other cultural figures have read, value, and keep on their bookshelves. This volume is presented in a unique, illustrated way that is perfect addition to any bookshelf or coffee table.
One for the Books by Joe Queenan (ISBN 9780670025824, $24.95) A hard-to-put-down volume of funnyman Queenan’s thoughts on reading and books, filled with humor and insight.
This Is Not the End of the Book by Umberto Eco, Jean-Claude Carrière. (ISBN 9780810127470, $24.95). Some of the best thoughts on the future of the book in world of overwhelming digital media by two masters of the literary essay.
Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet (ISBN 9781590207598, $17.95) A wonderful little study of how personal libraries reflect the individual, written by a collector who is almost as mad as I am.
Forgotten Bookmarks by Michael Popek (ISBN 9780399537011, $18.95) Unfortunately the coup of a hundred dollar bill found between the pages of a used book still eludes me. But recently, I found about a dozen neatly-pressed marijuana leaves inside a book that I picked up at a thrift store. Now I can joke that I bought pot at Goodwill. This book showcases many similar type items found in books–a welcome sort of “Found” book for the booklover.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell (ISBN 978-1468301281, $15)Not specifically about books, but that sometimes hilariously funny space where the booklover and the general public meet.
From his receiving table, Marc sees every book that comes into the bookstore. Here are his suggestions for holiday giving.
The Art of iPhoneography: A Guide to Mobile Creativity by Stephanie Roberts (9781454707622 $19.95)
Techniques, skills and the latest apps to get the very best photos.
The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot by Robert Macfarlane(9780670025114 $27.95)
A meditative walk on the old paths, holloways, drove roads and sea paths that lace the British Isles.
The Sibley Guide to Trees by David Allen Sibley (9780375415197 $39.95)
Known for his bird guides, Sibley has turned his attention and considerable skills to trees.
An easy to carry but thorough guide.
The Fate of Family Farming: Variations on an Idea by Ronald Jager (9781584650220 $19.95)
A look at the family farm from Plymouth to the 21st century with an emphasis on New England.
My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman (9780062112055 $22.99)
A fascinating memoir by one of the greatest icons of Southern Rock.
Moleskin Reporter Book Bag by Lorraine Harrison (978866139836 Co-op price $49.95 was $99.95)
Carry your writing pads and books in style.