BEA ARCs Clearout

June 7, 2018

Non-fiction seemed to be the name of the game at BEA, with BookScan data to the effect that adult non-fiction is a growth area in general and in print, going from 240 m private individual consumer unit sales to over 280 in last five years.  In keeping with that, I have several relevant non-fiction selections below.  Rampage, in particular, is getting effusive praise and promotion. Comment to claim.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony.  The Lies that Bind.  Norton, August.

book coverFrom the best-selling author of Cosmopolitanism comes this revealing exploration of how the collective identities that shape our polarized world are riddled with contradiction.

Who do you think you are? That’s a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods.

Kwame Anthony Appiah’s The Lies That Bind is an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict. Religion, he demonstrates, gains power because it isn’t primarily about belief. Our everyday notions of race are the detritus of discarded nineteenth-century science. Our cherished concept of the sovereign nation—of self-rule—is incoherent and unstable. Class systems can become entrenched by efforts to reform them. Even the very idea of Western culture is a shimmering mirage.

From Anton Wilhelm Amo, the eighteenth-century African child who miraculously became an eminent European philosopher before retiring back to Africa, to Italo Svevo, the literary marvel who changed citizenship without leaving home, to Appiah’s own father, Joseph, an anticolonial firebrand who was ready to give his life for a nation that did not yet exist, Appiah interweaves keen-edged argument with vibrant narratives to expose the myths behind our collective identities.

Scott, James M. Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila. Norton, October.

book coverThe definitive history of one of the most brutal campaigns of the war in the Pacific.

Before World War II, Manila was a slice of America in Asia, populated with elegant neoclassical buildings, spacious parks, and home to thousands of U.S. servicemen and business executives who enjoyed the relaxed pace of the tropics. The outbreak of the war, however, brought an end to the good life. General Douglas MacArthur, hoping to protect the Pearl of the Orient, declared the Philippine capital an open city and evacuated his forces. The Japanese seized Manila on January 2, 1942, rounding up and interning thousands of Americans.

MacArthur, who escaped soon after to Australia, famously vowed to return. For nearly three years, he clawed his way north, obsessed with redeeming his promise and turning his earlier defeat into victory. By early 1945, he prepared to liberate Manila, a city whose residents by then faced widespread starvation. Convinced the Japanese would abandon the city as he did, MacArthur planned a victory parade down Dewey Boulevard. But the enemy had other plans. Determined to fight to the death, Japanese marines barricaded intersections, converted buildings into fortresses, and booby-trapped stores, graveyards, and even dead bodies.

The twenty-nine-day battle to liberate Manila resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the city and a rampage by Japanese forces that brutalized the civilian population. Landmarks were demolished, houses were torched, suspected resistance fighters were tortured and killed, countless women were raped, and their husbands and children were murdered. American troops had no choice but to battle the enemy, floor by floor and even room by room, through schools, hospitals, and even sports stadiums. In the end, an estimated 100,000 civilians lost their lives in a massacre as heinous as the Rape of Nanking.

Based on extensive research in the United States and the Philippines, including war-crimes testimony, after-action reports, and survivor interviews, Rampagerecounts one of the most heartbreaking chapters of Pacific war history.

Begos, Kevin.  Tasting the Past. Algonquin, June 12th.

Tasting the Past

“When journalist Kevin Begos sets out to discover the origins of wine, he finds a whole world of forgotten grapes and meets the archaeologists, chemists, and botanists who are deciphering wine down to molecules of flavor”– Provided by publisher.

Entertainment Weekly gives some back story to Oprah’s Summer Book Club selection The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.  The non-fiction account of  a man enduring death row for a murder he didn’t commit is timely in the wake of Alice Marie Johnson’s commutation by the president of her draconian sentence, as well as other ongoing campaigns for criminal justice reform and improvement.  It currently has over 30 holds on 8 copies.  For good measure I’m including a link to the Innocence Project, which through volunteer effort and the latest forensics has uncovered countless other cases of wrongful prosecution and conviction. From the EW article:

“There was a time I thought I’d never see the sun again,” Ray Hinton said in a statement, of Oprah selection his book. “I really believe my mother prepared me, and she always told me to keep the faith. I worked really hard and tried to make a book that would inspire people to do better, learn how to forgive one another and move on. What happened to me, I don’t ever want to happen to anyone else. I’m just trying to be a little tiny light in God’s world.”

The Sun Does ShineSt. Martin’s summary: In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. It was a case of mistaken identity, and Hinton believed that the truth would prove his innocence. Sentenced to death by electrocution, he spent his first three years at Holman State Prison full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death.He resolved to find a way to live on Death Row., and for the next twenty-seven years he transformed not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates. After winning his release in 2015, Hinton shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.


These two were just lying around (I think from Nancy’s connection).  Comment to claim.

Steinhauer, Olen. The Middleman. Minotaur, August.

The Middleman

With The Middleman , the perfect thriller for our tumultuous, uneasy time, Olen Steinhauer, the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including The Tourist and The Cairo Affair , delivers a compelling portrait of a nation on the edge of revolution, and the deepest motives of the men and women on the opposite sides of the divide.

One day in the early summer of 2017, about four hundred people disappear from their lives. They leave behind cell phones, credit cards, jobs, houses, families–everything–all on the same day. Where have they gone? Why? The only answer, for weeks, is silence.

Kevin Moore is one of them. Former military, disaffected, restless, Kevin leaves behind his retail job in San Francisco, sends a good-bye text to his mother, dumps his phone and wallet into a trash can, and disappears.

The movement calls itself the Massive Brigade, and they believe change isn’t coming fast enough to America. But are they a protest organization, a political movement, or a terrorist group? What do they want? The FBI isn’t taking any chances. Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the growth of left-wing political groups in the U.S. since the fall of 2016, and is very familiar with Martin Bishop, the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But she needs her colleagues to take her seriously in order to find these people before they put their plan–whatever it is–into action.

What Rachel uncovers will shock the entire nation, and the aftermath of her investigation will reverberate through the FBI to the highest levels of government.

Swallow, James. Nomad. Forge, September.


Marc Dane is a MI6 field agent at home behind a computer screen, one step away from the action. But when a brutal attack on his team leaves Dane the only survivor—and with the shocking knowledge that there are traitors inside MI6—he’s forced into the front line.

Matters spiral out of control when the evidence points toward Dane as the perpetrator of the attack. Accused of betraying his country, he must race against time to clear his name. With nowhere to turn to for help and no one left to trust, Marc is forced to rely on the elusive Rubicon group and their operative Lucy Keyes. Ex US Army, Lucy also knows what it’s like to be an outsider, and she’s got the skills that Dane needs.

A terrorist attack is coming, one bigger and more deadly than has ever been seen before. With the eyes of the security establishment elsewhere, only Keyes and Dane can stop the attack before it’s too late.

Comment to claim.

Sparks, Nicholas. Every Breath. Grand Central, Oct 16th.

Every Breath

Summary from Grand Central website: 
Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.
Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?


Kingsolver, Barbara. Unsheltered. Harper, October.


Publisher summary: 

The New York Times bestselling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards–including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize–returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

Willa Knox has always prided herself on being the embodiment of responsibility for her family. Which is why it’s so unnerving that she’s arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication but a stack of unpaid bills and an inherited brick home in Vineland, New Jersey, that is literally falling apart. The magazine where she worked has folded, and the college where her husband had tenure has closed. The dilapidated house is also home to her ailing and cantankerous Greek father-in-law and her two grown children: her stubborn, free-spirited daughter, Tig, and her dutiful debt-ridden, ivy educated son, Zeke, who has arrived with his unplanned baby in the wake of a life-shattering development.

In an act of desperation, Willa begins to investigate the history of her home, hoping that the local historical preservation society might take an interest and provide funding for its direly needed repairs. Through her research into Vineland’s past and its creation as a Utopian community, she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood.

A science teacher with a lifelong passion for honest investigation, Thatcher finds himself under siege in his community for telling the truth: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting new theory recently published by Charles Darwin. Thatcher’s friendships with a brilliant woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. At home, his new wife and status-conscious mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his financial worries and the news that their elegant house is structurally unsound.

Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred–whether family or friends–and in the strength of the human spirit.

UPDATE: sorry for misspelling of Mullally in previous version of this post

OK, time to start distributing BookExpo bounty.  Comment to claim.

How Do We Look (in both transitive and intransitive sense) is the latest gem from Mary Beard, whose SPQR Ancient Roman history has circulated over 270 times.  This one is shorter and focuses tightly, almost eccentrically, on particular relics, statues, and paintings and what they say about body and self image and views of art itself through time.  Though the emphasis is Western, Beard stretches herself to ponder Olmec stone heads, mosques shaped to look like artificial caves in Turkey, and Buddhist examples among others.

I rarely say anything negative about an ARC, but Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally’s autobiography/love story/pseudo-script The Greatest Love Story Ever Told left me in cold disappointment, all the more so as I am an adoring fan of the comic acting work of both.  Talking about poignant childhood challenges and depressing life realities in the guise of a spontaneous riffing dialog between them (that no, just wasn’t funny) didn’t work for me.  Could someone claim and tell me I’m wrong please?  I’m considering a painfully restrained order but may be overreacting.

And another Jill Lepore These Truths.

Covers with publisher annotations: 

How Do We LookConceived as a gorgeously illustrated accompaniment to “How Do We Look” and “The Eye of Faith,” the famed Civilisations shows on PBS, renowned classicist Mary Beard has created this elegant volume on how we have looked at art. Focusing in Part I on the Olmec heads of early Mesoamerica, the colossal statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and the nudes of classical Greece, Beard explores the power, hierarchy, and gender politics of the art of the ancient world, and explains how it came to define the so-called civilized world. In Part II, Beard chronicles some of the most breathtaking religious imagery ever made–whether at Angkor Wat, Ravenna, Venice, or in the art of Jewish and Islamic calligraphers– to show how all religions, ancient and modern, have faced irreconcilable problems in trying to picture the divine. With this classic volume, Beard redefines the Western-and male-centric legacies of Ernst Gombrich and Kenneth Clark.


The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan MullallyAt last, the full story behind Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s epic romance, including stories, portraits, and the occasional puzzle, all telling the smoldering tale that has fascinated Hollywood for over a decade. The year: 2000. The setting: Los Angeles. A gorgeous virtuoso of an actress had agreed to star in a random play, and a basement-dwelling scenic carpenter had said he would assay a supporting role in the selfsame pageant. At the first rehearsal, she surveyed her fellow cast members, as one does, determining if any of the men might qualify to provide her with a satisfying fling. Her gaze fell upon the carpenter, and like a bolt of lightning, the thought struck her: No dice. Moving on. Yet, unbeknownst to our protagonists, Cupid had merely set down his bow and picked up a rocket launcher. Then fired a love rocket (not a euphemism). The players were Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, and the resulting romance, once it ignited, was . . . epic. Beyond epic. It resulted in a coupling that has endured to this day; a sizzling, perpetual tryst that has captivated the world with its kindness, athleticism, astonishingly low-brow humor, and true (fire emoji) passion. How did they do it? They came from completely different families, endured a significant age difference, and were separated by the gulf of several social strata. Megan loved books and art history; Nick loved hammers. But much more than these seemingly unsurpassable obstacles were the values they held in common: respect, decency, the ability to mention genitalia in almost any context, and an abiding obsession with the songs of Tom Waits. Eighteen years later, they’re still very much in love, and have finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they’ve learned, mainly about finger-blasting, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they’ve completed, in a book. Featuring anecdotes, hijinks, interviews, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery, this is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally’s and Offerman’s fans have been waiting for, it might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life.


These TruthsWritten in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself–a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence–at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas–“these truths,” Jefferson called them–political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News.Along the way, Lepore’s sovereign chronicle is filled with arresting sketches of both well-known and lesser-known Americans, from a parade of presidents and a rogues’ gallery of political mischief makers to the intrepid leaders of protest movements, including Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist orator; William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and ultimately tragic populist; Pauli Murray, the visionary civil rights strategist; and Phyllis Schlafly, the uncredited architect of modern conservatism.Americans are descended from slaves and slave owners, from conquerors and the conquered, from immigrants and from people who have fought to end immigration. “A nation born in contradiction will fight forever over the meaning of its history,” Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. “The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden,” These Truths observes. “It can’t be shirked. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.”




Caveat–Please continue to verify requests using Amazon.   The post below describes how to determine if a DVD listing may be a bootleg copy, so that you can assist patrons who come asking why their request was rejected.    Amazon is a very reliable source for verifying title and author information so Collection Development can pursue purchasing.  Bootleg listings are rare exceptions.  If you have questions about listings like these I am happy to come speak with staff about them.   Call me if you want to set something up.   Jim.

We’ve been receiving customer requests for the Netflix series, Longmire and The Crown for weeks now.   Netflix released the entire season of both shows late last year, and not long after that DVD and Blu-ray copies started appearing on Amazon.   After searching Midwest Tapes and not finding them listed, we wrote to them to see what’s what.  They told us, that these were not available to them, and to check back later.

The Crown Season 2 (DVD 2018) NEW Fans of The Crown…

So what’s going on?  Why doesn’t Sno-Isle have these shows as soon consumers can purchase them?

Let’s look for season 2 of The Crown  and see if we can find an explanation.

I searched  for “the crown season 2” in Amazon without specifying a department and voila!   There are a few things that look a little odd about the listings.

  1. The first clue is that Amazon has them when we can’t get ’em.
  2. The seller name is not a major distributor.   One of the listings I found was  from The BestForYou.
  3. The listing may be a “Sponsored Link” that takes you out of Amazon to a different website.
  4. The listing is there one day, and gone later.  This actually happened to me with The Crown while I was writing this post.
  5. Lastly, the listing may appear in an odd department like Toys and Games, rather than Movies & TV.

Past release dates are generally a good guide to when the next season will be released.   Distributors are pretty consistent from year to year, so season 2 should be coming next November.

I intentionally haven’t said anything about Longmire.   I’ll leave it to you to investigate and leave a comment about why those listings are fishy.

Recently I got intrigued in the developing cross-discipline discipline of “big history.”After listening to Craig Benjamin’s The Big History of Civilizations Great Course on CD (also available on video in Hoopla), like a lot of customers I was hooked, though irritated with myself because I had designated only 5 copies to start of David Christian’s Origin Story, the summary of which I’ll reproduce below but unfortunately I have no ARCs.  This book, a bit too new for NYT NF bestseller list though #2 on Amazon’s Natural History rankings, is a moderate hit here already – 10 copies now of the print with 45 holds and rising and 23 holds on the ebook.  Those probably won’t be the last copies we pursue.  Big history is also a concept that’s caught the eye of  Bill Gates.  The approach kind of makes you feel infinitesimal and fleeting, yet uniquely special at the same time.

Origin Story

Little Brown Summary: A captivating history of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we’ve come to know as “history.” By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together — from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond.

With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.