Main Menu

Alan's

Literary

Top 5

  1. DC-Area Playwrights!
  2. Tony Horwitz
  3. Bertrand Russell
  4. Sherman Alexie
  5. Orson Scott Card T Cooper

click here to see more of my recommendations.

Set in a Scandinavian furniture superstore unsubtly modeled on Ikea, Horrorstör is a startlingly fresh and creatively designed approach to storytelling and social commentary. Grady Hendrix’s book creepily depicts both the supernatural and economic forces hounding Horrorstör’s characters without taking itself too seriously. Its excellent pacing and sharp wit make it a pleasure to read even as the updated haunted-house plot dissects classic horror tropes and several of the book’s characters. Horrorstör could be classified as “humor” or “social theory” as easily as “horror,” but no matter what shelf you find it on, this book is worth your time.
   Alan

Horrorstor (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9781594745263
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Quirk Books, 9/2011

 
Science Fiction

Anton's

Literary

Top 5

  1. science fiction and fantasy
  2. Russia, USSR, and the Cold War
  3. Buddhism and meditation
  4. learning live, dead, or simply unconscious languages
  5. bacon! (the presence of an exclamation mark can either mean I am excited about bacon, or it can indicate that this is the factorial function of bacon—you decide).

click here to see more of my recommendations.

If your ideal book could be best described as ‘odd’, ‘genre-defying’, ‘peculiar’, and, perhaps, ‘containing tentacles’, then Preparing the Ghost is your ideal book. It’s perhaps much easier to explain why I loved this delightfully weird book than to describe what it is. This amazing small volume is history, memoir, travelogue, and philosophical study on myth-making and myth-destroying in one. Frank is a Renaissance man, and he treats his reader to an assortment of strange facts, ideas, and connections (plus, you learn words like ‘scapulimancy’).
Anton
$22.95
ISBN-13: 9780871402837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 7/2014

Nature

Hannah's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Mystery
  2. Drama
  3. History
  4. Fantasy/Kids
  5. “Classics”

click here to see more of my recommendations.

In Catastrophe 1914 (Vintage, $17.95), Max Hastings once again proves why he is such a lauded historian. In his latest military-political study, the author of Inferno, Winston’s War, and many others, looks at the opening events of the First World War through the strange dichotomy of great human folly coupled with noble intentions. Far from seeing the conflict as a waste, Hastings paints a picture of Europe struggling on the very edge of losing its identity and freedom; his vivid evocations of battle on both the Western and Eastern fronts follow the many generals, soldiers, and politicians maneuvering both on and behind the scenes. This book details just one year of the war and yet illuminates more about Europe in the first part of the twentieth century than tomes twice its size. Whether or not Hastings convinces you that the war was absolutely necessary, you can’t help but be engaged by his argument, his evidence, and his narrative; this stimulating book will broaden your understanding of the Great War.

   Hannah
$17.95
ISBN-13: 9780307743831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 6/2014

2014 Summer Newsletter, History & Regional Studies, Military History, U.S. History - World at War

Laurie's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Poetry
  2. Genre-defying books
  3. NYRB Classics
  4. Art Exhibit Catalogs
  5. Remainders

click here to see more of my recommendations.

Lydia Davis’s stories are dreams. They’re also letters and lists, animal fables and obituaries; others recount episodes from Flaubert’s life. Her stories—but are they stories? Can’t and Won’t (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26), the cannily defiant eighth book of fiction by the noted translator freshens the world and teases the imagination, as stories do; though Davis is as apt to use crisp observations and tart comments as she is recognizable plots to achieve this end, she is also meticulous in recreating scenes of daily life. This very precision is marvelously suggestive; why exactly these details? Are any essential to shaping a life, or are they all more or less arbitrary? Change one—and new plots, new characters, new stories will emerge. Along with hints of such untold tales, Davis has a delightful and disarming brand of wordplay; a story about an odd crime—the disappearance of salamis—turns into a parable of identity theft when news reports call the salamis “sausages.” Then there’s the meticulous journal of how three cows in a neighboring field spend their days—a rumination on ruminants.

   Laurie
$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780374118587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 4/2014

2014 Summer Newsletter, Fiction, Short Fiction for Long Summer Days

Mark L's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Books complex or confounding enough to spur discussion
  2. Literary fiction, whatever that means
  3. Cookbooks and foodie books
  4. Discovering new voices—poetry and prose—fiction and non
  5. Denis Johnson, Barry Hannah and other mad scientists

click here to see more of my recommendations.

American Innovations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24), Rivka Galchen’s astonishing debut short-story collection, is smart, slyly funny, and usually at least a bit off-kilter.  In the opening story, “The Lost Order,” a woman answers her phone and, rather than tell the caller that he’s dialed the wrong number, takes the man’s order for Chinese food delivery.  The title story is an homage to Gogol’s “The Nose”; in this version, a woman comes home from abroad to discover that she’s grown a breast on her back.  In “Wild Berry Blue,” a girl having breakfast with her dad at McDonald’s encounters her first love, a heavily tattooed, recovering drug addict working behind the counter.  Galchen’s stories can be strange and mysterious, but it’s difficult to read them without grinning and marveling at her charm, imagination, and command of language.

   Mark L.
$24.00
ISBN-13: 9780374280475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 5/2014

2014 Summer Newsletter, Fiction, Short Fiction for Long Summer Days

Pat's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Crime Novels & Historical Fiction
  2. Cultural Analysis & Connections
  3. Film History, Analysis & How-To
  4. The Creative Process
  5. Sentiment > Sentimentality

click here to see more of my recommendations.

“Calling out around the world/ Are you ready for a brand new beat?” The answer in 1964 was a resounding “yes!” to Martha & the Vandellas’s “Dancing in the Street,” a song that both captured an era and remains a timeless classic. Ready for a Brand New Beat (Riverhead, $16) relives the heady sixties while it documents how the Motown hit rocketed up the charts with its sharp 4/4 beat and lyrics about taking it to the streets. Like so many tracks recorded at the “Hitsville, USA” studio in Detroit, this was a song targeted at everyone and was as much at home in the suburbs as it was at SNCC meetings or urban riots. As he did with works like Salt and Cod, Mark Kurlansky finds the perfect lens to put a whole period into perspective, and his prose is as vibrant as the song he analyzes and celebrates. This book will fascinate music lovers and cultural historians alike.

   Pat
$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781594632730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Trade, 7/2014

2014 Summer Newsletter, Music, U.S. History - The Soundtrack