If you couldn’t make it to our evening of bookseller suggestions last week, well, you missed out on some fantastic wine, cheese, and conversation. But here is the rundown of recommendations:
Jane: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli and Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Jen: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper and The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
Emily: Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse and The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
Grace: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and Northline by Willy Vlautin
There was some competition among the booksellers about which books would sell the most that evening, and I think The Slap took the honors.
We also talked about The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (did you love it or think it was totally boring?), and other all-time favorite books (Room, The Book Thief).
Thanks to all who attended!
We’re constantly passing around galleys at the store, and some are hotter than others. Our current favorite is Hannah Pittard’s debut novel, The Fates Will Find Their Way. I don’t want to speak for everyone at the store — and my guess is that we all will like this book for different reasons — but I think one thing we’re responding to is how unique and fresh her writing is. A lot of books just feel the same right now, and this doesn’t. In a somewhat slow season for fiction, this book is exciting us. — Jennifer
This debut novel, due out in April from Norton, is poetic and moody and magical. Set in the northern town of Sawgamet, Stephen has returned to town to bury his dying mother. But he flashes back to his childhood, and the pivotal summer when Stephen’s grandfather Jeannot returned to town to find his dead wife. The snow is almost another character in the story; it’s a place where it can blizzard well into the summer, and where the river can ice over so quickly it traps people. The mythical creatures living in the woods lend a magical realism/fantasy element to the story, but it’s really steeped in love, family, and community. And it manages to be both brutal and sweet at the same time, which is a great combination. The author will be here in store reading from this book on Sunday, April 10 at 4 PM, and we’re excited to have him!
Gathering work from Trevor’s previous four collections, this volume shows why his deceptively spare fiction has moved readers for generations. Set in Ireland and England, Trevor’s tales are powerful even in their silences, showing the way the present is controlled by the past and the way past patterns shape the future. His stories are timeless.
If you’ve set foot in the store anytime recently, you’ve probably heard us talk about Room. We all read it, we all loved it, and we still can’t stop talking about it. I’ve watched Jane hand-sell that book to about a hundred people, and I told her that Emma Donoghue owes her a drink, at the very least. The book works on so many different levels: plot-wise, it’s exciting. Structurally, it’s stands out as unique since it’s told from the perspective of this five year-old boy. But I think one of the things that resonated most for our staff was the mother/son relationship, which is so loving in the midst of such horror. It’s inspiring, which is what good fiction should be.
—Jennifer de la Fuente
Christmas is right around the corner! Don’t forget that we have a great selection of not only books, coffee table favorites, journals, stationery, and other great surprises!
We have great personal shopping services available and great gift bundle suggestions around the store!
The Tiger’s Wife is set in a Balkan country after years of war and conflict. Natalia, a young doctor, is on a trip to an orphanage to provide care when she hears of her grandfather’s sudden death. In addition to the sadness she feels for the loss of her grandfather, she realizes that there is a huge mystery to where his death occurred. She found out that her grandfather had told the family that he was going to visit Natalia on her mission to an out of town orphanage, but he had not told Natalia of this. As she tries to find out more information about the whereabouts of his death, she realizes it is in a town that no one has heard of and that isn’t on the map. She tries to figure out where her grandfather was really going and what he was in search of. In the process, she is reminded of two stories that may be vital in understanding what he was doing and where he was going; the story of the deathless man, and the story of the Tiger’s Wife.
I’m not done with the book, but it’s been mysterious and a riveting family story so far. I highly recommend this book, it will be published in March 2011.
This is Tea Obreht‘s first novel. Some of her short stories have been published in The New Yorker and she has been named one of the Top 20 Best American Fiction Writers Under 40.