March 24, 2016
On offer this weekend are four ARCS for titles, either just published or just about to be published, that are building nice holds queues. The longest queue right now is for by far the shortest book: Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. Curtis Sittenfeld’s retelling of Pride and Prejudice should be quite popular around here, as her contemporary novel Sisterland has circulated over 1800 times!
Comment to claim with your Sno-Isle workplace. Thank you!
Cronin, Justin. The City of Mirrors.
Summary: In The Passage and The Twelve, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon–but does silence promise the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale. The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place? The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew–and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy–humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him. One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
Sittenfeld, Curtis. Eligible.
Summary: From the “wickedly entertaining” ( USA Today ) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice . A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century. This version of the Bennet family–and Mr. Darcy–is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help–and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches. Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible . At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving. Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale.
Rovelli, Carlo. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
Summary: Instant New York Times Bestseller “A startling and illustrative distillation of centuries of science.”– The Economist “Lean, lucid and enchanting.”– New Scientist The international bestseller that reveals all the beauty of modern physics in seven short and enlightening lessons Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is a book about the joy of discovery. Carlo Rovelli brings a playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, offering surprising–and surprisingly easy to grasp–explanations of Einstein’s general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”
Hawley, Noah. Before the Fall.
Summary: From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics’ Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller of the year. On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage. Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
March 17, 2016
The National Book Critics Circle has just announced its awards for 2015. We own all of these in print and I’ll check into audio early next week. Check out their website for more detailed information and a press release. From their website, the mission of NBCC:
Mission Statement: The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature.
Recipients of the National Book Critic Circle Awards for 2015
Ross Gay, “Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude” (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Maggie Nelson, “The Argonauts” (Graywolf)
Margo Jefferson “Negroland” (Pantheon)
Charlotte Gordon, “Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley” (Random House)
Sam Quinones, “Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury)
Paul Beatty, “The Sellout” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The John Leonard Prize
Kirstin Valdez Quade, “Night at the Fiestas” (W.W. Norton)
March 14, 2016
Publishers Weekly has an article highlighting the sales success of some on the move independent publishers. Sasquatch makes the list! An excerpt :
As Seattle independent publisher Sasquatch Books enters 2016—its 30th year—the company points to breakout hits such as The 52 Lists Project and A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus as keys to its recent success. Known for its list of nonfiction books, Northwest regional titles, and guidebook series, Sasquatch has branched out into a variety of subjects, including cooking, lifestyle, and children’s books.
March 10, 2016
Comment to claim. This is on the April Library Reads list. The favorite was Chris Sittenfeld’s Eligible. More information to come on BiblioFiles closer to release.
Publisher Summary: “An intoxicating Manhattan fairy tale… As affecting as it is absorbing. A thrilling debut.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “…a vital, sensuous, edgy, and suspenseful tale of longing, rage, fear, compulsion, and love.” – Booklist (starred review). An intoxicating and transcendent debut novel that follows a critic, an artist, and a desirous, determined young woman as they find their way–and ultimately collide–amid the ever-evolving New York City art scene of the 1980’s. Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for the New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason–a small town beauty and Raul’s muse–and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost. As inventive as Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad and as sweeping as Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings , Tuesday Nights in 1980 boldly renders a complex moment when the meaning and nature of art is being all but upended, and New York City as a whole is reinventing itself. In risk-taking prose that is as powerful as it is playful, Molly Prentiss deftly explores the need for beauty, community, creation, and love in an ever-changing urban landscape.
March 3, 2016
For those maybe reading ahead for the 16 in 16 promotion, I have a few ARCs that may be of interest in the translated category. Translations are getting more publicity and promotion lately, and it goes way beyond Scandinavian thrillers (though they’re still going strong, too). Publishers and imprints like New Directions, Europa Editions, Other Press, Overlook Books, etc. etc. are supplying great new genre and literary titles to expand the American reader’s mind. Italian writer Elena Ferrante has hit the NYT bestseller list, along with Indian-American Jhumpa Lahiri, whose new book In Other Words is an interesting experiment by an author writing in her third language, Italian, and having it translated into English in a parallel text.
Also, I welcome input on getting originals of any translated work originally in one of the six non-English languages we collect., as reading the same book in two languages is a great way to study another language, including English.
Please comment to this post to claim. The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem is particularly richly written and poignant, and Shelter by Jung Yun is developing a solid queue.
Alem, Raja. The Dove’s Necklace.
Summary: When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca’s many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. As we follow Detective Nassir’s investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed. Tackling powerful issues with beautiful and evocative writing, Raja Alem reveals a city–and a civilization–at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning (uneasily) with new traditions. Told from a variety of perspectives–including that of Abu Al Roos itself–The Dove’s Necklace is a virtuosic work of literature, and an ambitious portrait of a changing city that deserves our attention.
Chirbes, Rafael. On the Edge.
Summary: On the Edge opens with the discovery of a rotting corpse in the marshes on the outskirts of Olba, Spain–a town wracked by despair after the burst of the economic bubble, and a microcosm of a world of defeat, debt, and corruption. Stuck in this town is Esteban–his small factory bankrupt, his investments stolen by a “friend,” and his unloved father, a mute invalid, entirely his personal burden. Much of the novel unfolds in Esteban’s raw and tormented monologues. But other voices resound from the wreckage–soloists stepping forth from the choir–and their words, sharp as knives, crowd their terse, hypnotic monologues of ruin, prostitution, and loss. Chirbes alternates this choir of voices with a majestic third-person narration, injecting a profound and moving lyricism and offering the hope that a new vitality can emerge from the putrid swamps. On the Edge, even as it excoriates, pulsates with robust life, and its rhythmic, torrential style marks the novel as an indelible masterpiece.
Camilleri, Andrea. Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories.
Summary: From the author of the New York Times -bestselling Inspector Montalbano mystery series, twenty-one short stories spanning the beloved detective’s career. Inspector Montalbano has charmed readers in nineteen popular novels, and now in Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories , Andrea Camilleri has selected twenty-one short stories, written with his trademark wit and humor, that follow Italy’s famous detective through highlight cases of his career. From the title story, featuring a young deputy Montalbano newly assigned to Vigàta, to “Montalbano Says No,” in which the inspector makes a late-night call to Camilleri himself to refuse an outlandish case, this collection is an essential addition to any Inspector Montalbano fan’s bookshelf and a wonderful way to introduce readers to the internationally bestselling series.
Yun, Jung. Shelter.
Summary: You can never know what goes on behind closed doors. One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki) Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future. A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantageâe”private tutors, expensive hobbiesâe”but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and heâe(tm)s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child? As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.
March 1, 2016
This controversy is so much more involved and multi-faceted (and I think important to learn about and discuss!) than I appreciated earlier. As more read ebooks on smartphones, the issue of how far companies are obligated to go to assist law enforcement in bypassing their own privacy and security features will be of interest to many. Regardless of your take (if you have one), I just wanted to point out the relevant ALA press release and another very well-linked blog post from the Center for the Future of Libraries (also on the ALA website) covering many of the issues and positions.
NPR also has an article with very clear FAQ style explanation and background.
February 25, 2016
The president has nominated Carla Hayden of Enoch Pratt Free Library to be the next Librarian of Congress, intending to replace retired Librarian of Congress James Billington who had been a professor before taking the job in the Reagan Administration. However, Hayden will not be serving similarly into the 2040’s because the position is now limited to ten years. Here are some links by Publishers Weekly and Library Journal about the appointment.
Sari Feldman of the ALA has piped in as well:
“The President could not have made a better choice. Hats off to President Obama for nominating Dr. Hayden, a professional librarian uniquely positioned with the leadership and management skills and understanding of digital technology to make the Library of Congress the preeminent national library in the world, highly-valued by and serving all Americans as a treasured resource. We look forward to working closely with her to further librarians’ bedrock principle that all Americans everywhere deserve and must have equitable access to the information that they need to succeed and lead productive lives in the digital age.”