We have plenty of copies for a second run – thanks!

 

Lincoln in the BardoOn February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body. Willie finds himself in a strange purgatory– the bardo– where ghosts commiserate quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance … and where a struggle erupts over his soul.
Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.

 

 

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Nobel prize for literature

October 5, 2017

 

This year’s honor goes to Kazuo Ishiguro.  Ishiguro is probably best known as the author of Remains of the Day.  In announcing the award, the Nobel committee stated, “…In novels of great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world,” later adding, “If you mix Jane Austin with Franz Kafka, you have Kazuo Ishiguro. You have to add a bit of Marcel Proust in there too.”

Sno-Isle owns copies of all of Ishiguro’s works; we’ll add copies as holds queues build.

These could all potentially find more readers for their copies, with the possible exception of Her Body and Other Parties (drat an underorder). No ARC’s anymore but thought these were worth a mention. The full list, including non-fiction, is here.

Ackerman, Elliot. Dark at the Crossing. Knopf.

Dark at the Crossing“Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir’s wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness?”–Page 4 of cover.

 

 

 

Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing. Scribner.

“A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward. In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature”– Provided by publisher.

Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Algonquin.

The Leavers“One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, the Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

 

Lee, Min Jin. Pachinko. Grand Central.

Pachinko

“A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity”– Provided by publisher.

Machado, Carmen Maria. Her Body and Other Parties. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Her Body and Other PartiesIn Her Body and Other Parties , Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
“[A] timely new novel of stunning humanity and tension: a contemporary love story set on the Turkish border with Syria” — provided by publisher.

This is also from Nancy’s have-read stash, but she wants you to make your own judgment.  This should also be in the catalog very soon.  Benjamin’s The Swans of Fifth Avenue, about Truman Capote’s falling out with his connected friends and beginning a personal spiral and artistic block, circulated 564 times – and The Aviator’s Wife, about the Lindberghs, almost 600.  Comment to claim.

Benjamin, Melanie. The Girls in the Picture. Delacorte, January 16th, 2018.

The Girls in the PicturePublisher Summary: It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.

In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.

But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.

With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era—its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson (not to be confused with the many other books with that title) is coming out next January.  I am just now ordering it – apologies – but Nancy has an ARC for a lucky person.  Johnson’s novel Tree of Smoke circulated at least 367 times, perhaps even more as it predates CARL migration. Comment to claim. Thanks.

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis JohnsonPenguin Random House Summary: Twenty-five years after Jesus’ Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on aging, mortality, and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson.  The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. It follows the groundbreaking, highly acclaimed Jesus’ Son. Written in the same luminous prose, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating old age, mortality, the ghosts of the past, and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves. Finished shortly before Johnson’s death in May 2017, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.

Courtesy of Nancy with her connections. Comment to claim.

 

Hoffman, Alice. The Rules of Magic. S & S October 10th.

The Rules of MagicSummary: For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.  Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.  From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.  The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

The PBS Newshour had a great segment Friday highlighting “Titles to Fall For Now That Summer Is Over” – watch here [time permitting of course].  Louise Penny is one of the very most popular authors here at Sno-Isle, with Glass Houses currently holding at 261 holds on 59 copies.  This segment shows she’s just as delightful a reader’s advisor and book promoter as author.  One of her mentioned discoveries is the debut Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, a Nigerian writer who once wrote in residence on Whidbey Island. This has 16 holds on 7 copies, a good start.  I still have an ARC – can Louise tempt you?

Pamela Paul, the other reviewer here, also has her own book on books out called My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues. No ARC of this I’m afraid but the current queue is short.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ARC available.

Stay With Me

Yejide and Akin fell in love and married while at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide agreed polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage– after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures– Yejide is still not pregnant. When her family arrives with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. She does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine.
“A novel about a married Nigerian couple who must grapple with staggering levels of loss and betrayal in their quest to create a family for themselves” — Provided by publisher.

 

 

No ARC but notable: 

 

My Life With Bob“Imagine keeping a record of every book you ever read. What would those titles say about you? With humor and warmth, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life. For twenty-eight years, Pamela Paul has been keeping a diary that records the books she reads, rather than the life she leads. Or does it? Over time, it’s become clear that this Book of Books, or Bob, as she calls him, tells a much bigger story. For Paul, as for many readers, books reflect her inner life– her fantasies and hopes, her dreams and ideas. And her life, in turn, influences which books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, diversion or self-reflection, information or entertainment. My Life with Bob isn’t about what’s in those books; it’s about the relationship between books and readers. Bob was with her when she struggled to get through the Norton Anthology of English Literature in college and when she read Anna Karenina while living abroad alone. He was there when she fell in love and much needed when she sought solace in self-help and memoirs like Autobiography of a Face. Through marriage and divorce, remarriage (The Master and Margarita) and parenthood (The Hunger Games), professional setbacks and successes, Bob recorded what she read while all that happened. The diary–now coffee-stained and frayed–is the record of a lifelong love affair with books, and has come to mean more to her than any other material possession. My Life with Bob is a testament to the power of books to provide the perspective, courage, companionship, and ultimately self-knowledge to forge our own path”– Provided by publisher.