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.

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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.

Man Booker Shortlist

September 13, 2017

The Man Booker Prize now has a short list (see PW coverage).  We own all except for Elmet by Fiona Mozley which has not yet been published in the U.S. so I’ll hold off on that one.  4 3 2 1 I’m sure has been fun to search for customers and I have a feeling the fun will continue.

The others with publisher summaries:

Saunders, George. Lincoln in the Bardo. Random House.

Lincoln in the BardoSummary: 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.
On 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.

 

 

Smith, Ali. Autumn. Pantheon.

Autumn

“From the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be both: a breathtakingly inventive new novel–about aging, time, love, and stories themselves–that launches an extraordinary quartet of books called Seasonal. Readers love Ali Smith’s novels for their peerless innovation and their joyful celebration of language and life. Her newest, Autumn, has all of these qualities in spades, and–good news for fans!–is the first installment in a quartet. Seasonal, comprised of four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as are the seasons), explores what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative. Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy, and the color hit of Pop Art, Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means”– Provided by publisher.

 

Fridlund, Emily.  History of Wolves. Grove Atlantic.

History of Wolves“So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides!”-Aimee Bender. Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do-and fail to do-for the people they love. Winner of the McGinnis-Ritchie award for its first chapter, Emily Fridlund’s propulsive and gorgeously written History of Wolves introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent.”– Provided by publisher.

Auster, Paul. 4 3 2 1. Henry Holt.

4 3 2 1

“Paul Auster’s greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel — a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece. Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on. As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.”– Provided by publisher.

Hamid, Mohsin.  Exit West. Riverhead.

Exit West“From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet–sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors–doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner–both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid’s most ambitious and electrifying novel yet”– Provided by publisher.

I’m purchasing those we did not already own.  The Seattle Times is covering. Here’s the link.  Thanks!

Barkskins  Lovecraft Country  Eruption

 

Christian Book Awards

May 8, 2017

 

Christianity Today, magazine mouthpiece for a broad evangelical audience, has posted the Christian Book Awards for 2017. We owned most of them, except for a cultural work of interest that I am ordering this week, highlighted below.  Popular devotional works in Christianity and Buddhism especially are popular and have a high turnover, but selecting particular titles can be challenging.  It is worth paying close attention to industry coverage in PW, bestseller lists, and other sources within this niche.  For instance, one of the bestselling Christian titles of recent years hands down is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I never received a *single* RINC for but which after I finally ordered it has circulated over 220 times.  SINC’s in any of these areas are most welcome.

The prolific right-leaning Evangelical presses include Zondervan, Multnomah, Thomas Nelson, and Eerdman’s, among many others.  Liberal faith is represented by Beacon Press and HarperOne. Buddhist publishers include Shambhala and Wisdom Publications.  Wiccan interest is covered by Llewellyn, Catholic interest by Ignatius and Loyola Presses and unbelief and skeptical viewpoints by Prometheus Press. These are a few dedicated imprints but in general the Big Five and university presses also produce prodigious output.

 

Tebow, Tim.  Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms.  Waterbrook, 2016. [7 copies]

Shaken“First, he was a beloved college football champion, media sensation, and best-selling author drafted in the first round of the 2010 Draft. Then he had a miracle playoff run with the Denver Broncos before being traded to the New York Jets. After one season he was cut by New York, next signed by the New England Patriots, then let go after training camp. Tim Tebow has achieved big victories and plunged the depths of failure, all while holding firm to his faith. In Shaken he explains why neither the highs nor the lows of his life can define him–and he reveals how you, too, can find an unshakable identity and purpose. In revealing passages, Tebow pulls back the curtain on his life, sharing the vulnerable moments of his career that have shaken him to his core–while also teaching the biblical principles that will enable you to keep the faith, no matter what comes your way.”–Baker & Taylor.

 

 

 

Glaspey, Terry.  75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know. Baker, 2015. [Soon  in catalog]

75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and FilmSome of the greatest artists have taken their inspiration from their faith. Now you can discover the stories behind seventy-five masterpieces of art, literature, music, and film–and the artists who created them. From the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt, from Bach to U2, from John Bunyan to Frederick Buechner, author and historian Terry Glaspey unveils the absorbing true stories behind these masterpieces and shares the faith-filled details you might have missed.

PULITZERS ANNOUNCED

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.

FICTION

Whitehead, Colson.  The Underground Railroad.  Doubleday, 2016. [STILL 87 holds though we have 48 copies!]

The Underground RailroadPublisher 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.

 

 

DRAMA

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.

 

 

 

HISTORY

Thompson, Heather Ann.  Bood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Pantheon, 2016.

Blood in the WaterOn 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.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Matar, Hisham.  The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between. Random House, 2016.

The Return

“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.

 

 

NON-FICTION

Desmond, Matthew.  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Crown, 2016.

Evicted“[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.

 

POETRY

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.

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers  Association has announced their 2017 Pacific Northwest Book Awards.  They are:

Proulx, Annie.  Barkskins.

DeConnick, Kelly Sue.  Bitch planet, Book one: Extraordinary machine

Smith, Alexis M.  Marrow island

Moor, Robert.  On trails: an expoloration

West, Lindy.  Shrill: Notes from a loud woman.

Alexie, Sherman.  Thunder Boy, Jr.

Ivey, Eowyn.  To the bright edge of the world

Here is more information on the winners.  Winners will soon be featured on NWBookLovers blog.

We have all the print editions.  We own all of the ebooks expect Shrill which I am purchasing.

I am glad to see a graphic novel (Bitch Planet) on this list.

Posted by Becky