April 17, 2017
From this week’s report. The Stranger in the Woods has finally broken out of its holds ratio and is getting additional copies. Himself was an utter blindside – a debut set in Ireland in the 1970’s, the novel wins praise from reviewers for being a fresh voice couched in whodunit mystery form.
Finkel, Michael. The Stranger in the Woods. Knopf, March 7.
For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, a remarkable tale of survival and solitude–the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years. In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life–as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded”–Publisher description.
Kidd, Jess. Himself. Atria, March 14.
Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother’s disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago. From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony’s presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir amongst the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men) and suspicion (the pious). Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. Together, this improbable duo concoct an ingenious plan to get the town talking, aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead. Because in Mulderrig, ghosts can be just as chatty and opinionated as the town’s flesh and blood residents. Mahony’s investigation incurs the wrath of sanctimonious Father Quinn and the Widow Farelly, provokes letter bombs and poisoned scones, and culminates in a riotous production of the most controversial play in Irish history. Himself is a simmering mixture – a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers”– Provided by publisher.
April 12, 2017
We did not yet have the poetry selection, Olio, or the drama title Sweat, which have both been slated for order. They should be in the catalog shortly.
Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016. [STILL 87 holds though we have 48 copies!]
Publisher summary: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey — hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.
Nottage, Lynn. Sweat. Theatre Communications Group, May.
Summary: No stranger to dramas both heart-felt and heart-wrenching, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage has written one of her most exquisitely devastating tragedies to date. In one of the poorest cities in America, Reading, Pennsylvania, a group of down-and-out factory workers struggles to keep their present lives in balance, ignorant of the financial devastation looming in their near futures. Set in 2008, the powerful crux of this new play is knowing the fate of the characters long before it’s even in their sights. Based on Nottage’s extensive research and interviews with real residents of Reading, Sweat is a topical reflection of the present and poignant outcome of America’s economic decline.
Thompson, Heather Ann. Bood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Pantheon, 2016.
On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men–hostages as well as prisoners–and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this 45-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. This book is the first full account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.–Adapted from dust jacket. “Historian Heather Ann Thompson offers the first definitive telling of the Attica prison uprising, the state’s violent response, and the victims’ decades-long quest for justice–in time for the forty-fifth anniversary of the events”– Provided by publisher.
Matar, Hisham. The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between. Random House, 2016.
“In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years. When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar’s father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime’s most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballah Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is “persistent and cunning.” This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power”– Provided by publisher.
Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Crown, 2016.
“[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the 20 dollars a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality– and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible”–Amazon.com.
Jess, Tyehimba. Olio. Wave Books, April.
Jess’s work displays a deep sense of cool black consciousness, especially in regard to musicality. He works with an expressive tradition that blends sensibilities of field holler, spiritual encodings, gospel moan and groan, work song cadence, blue notes, and jook joint jazz.”Howard Ramsby II, Sou’wester
Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers, musicians and artists directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.
So, while I lead this choir, I still find that
I’m being ledI’m a missionary
mending my faith in the midst of this flock
I toil in their fields of praise. When folks see
these freedmen stand and sing, they hear their God
speak in tongues. These nine dark mouths sing shelter;
they echo a hymn’s haven from slavery’s weather.
April 10, 2017
The non-fiction purchase order includes a political memoir from a President Obama Deputy Chief of Staff. It comes from Hachette’s Twelve imprint, which puts out a book a month (hence the name) and which “strives to publish singular books, by authors who have unique perspectives and compelling authority.” Also worth a quick mention is President Bush (43)’s new book of portraits of veterans Portraits of Courage. Our initial order is still meeting the holds copy ratio but the demand seems to be building steadily.
Mastromonaco, Alyssa. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? Twelve, March 21.
“If your funny older sister were the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama, her behind-the-scenes political memoir would look something like this. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? is an intimate and admiring portrait of a president, a candid book of advice for young women, and a promising debut from a savvy political star”– Provided by publisher.
Bush, George W. Portraits of Courage. Crown, February 28.
Publisher summary: A vibrant collection of military oil paintings and stories by the 43rd President, published to benefit the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, stands as an official tie-in to the exhibition scheduled for March 2017 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
March 23, 2017
I’m trying to ingest a lot more craft and drawing books into the collection this year. My hope is you will see results in Bibliocommons and on your shelves soon.
One title I just ordered I’d like to highlight because it’s something I was not at all familiar with, namely Zakka Embroidery Yumiko Higuchi. It should be the in catalog within a couple of weeks. Zakka, as I now know from this New York Times article (May 15th, 2001), is
… the term for everything and anything that spruces up your home, life and outlook.
It could be a wooden clothespin by an obscure company in New Hampshire, it could be an empty tomato-paste can saved for planting basil. Zakka is the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane…
Zakka Embroidery presents designs that are an elegant blend of Japanese and Scandinavian style. The motifs and patterns are spare and graphic, yet softened with organic shapes and imagery drawn from nature. The result is embroidery that evokes a personal feel and conjures a sense of nostalgia.
March 22, 2017
According to EarlyWord, this title got a big boost from the author’s appearance on NPR – always a potential catapult for a chart-jumper. Just a day after publication we have 44 holds and growing (on 3 intial copies – my face is frostbite red). Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice has circulated 337 times, so this seems bound to rack up checkouts as well.
Summary from W. W. Norton:
Ice Ghosts weaves together the epic story of the Lost Franklin Expeditionof 1845—whose two ships and crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice—withthe modern tale of the scientists, divers, and local Inuit behind the incrediblediscovery of the flagship’s wreck in 2014. Paul Watson, a Pulitzer Prize–winningjournalist who was on the icebreaker that led the discovery expedition, tellsa fast-paced historical adventure story: Sir John Franklin and the crew of theHMS Erebus and Terror setting off in search of the fabled Northwest Passage,the hazards they encountered and the reasons they were forced to abandonship hundreds of miles from the nearest outpost of Western civilization, andthe decades of searching that turned up only rumors of cannibalism and a fewscattered papers and bones—until a combination of faith in Inuit lore and thelatest science yielded a discovery for the ages.
March 20, 2017
Besides unsurprising injections of new copies for Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, a somewhat unexpected rush on a flower gardening book appears in the Purchase Orders Placed Report this week. Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden (Hachette, published March 7) by Erin Benzakein (et al.) features a how-to on growing flowers from Skagit Valley’s own farm-to-centerpiece operation Floret Flowers. Becky ordered this back in November and now it’s running 61 holds and rising.
Publisher Summary: From Erin Benzakein, a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement and owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm, Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration—a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Erin’s flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
February 21, 2017
Simon & Schuster has cancelled Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulous after a controversial video was released this week. The American Conservative Union also cancelled his appearance this week. PW covers the history of this title which was initially due to be released in March, but recently delayed until June. The New York Times has more information on the most recent controversy.
Updated information: Items have been deleted from the PAC and Overdrive. Nancy has notified the requesters of the cancellation of the title when the requester provided an email address.
Collection Development staff had ordered three formats of this title – book, ebook and eaudio. These were purchased based on requests from our users. We have removed the catalog entries. Requesters were notified their hold was cancelled with information on the cancellation of the book. The ebook and eaudio holds have been deleted and requester have been notified by email.
Posted by Becky