Main Menu

COVER TO COVER

Cover to Cover is a monthly P&P Staff Pick, the book we’ve all been reading & recommend, cover to cover. Our April selection, perfect for National Poetry Month, is Lucie Brock-Broido’s Stay, Illusion (Knopf, $26), a finalist for the National Book Award. Buyer Laurie Greer reviews the collection.

Stay, Illusion is a book of ghosts. Taking the title for her exuberant yet bittersweet fourth collection of poems from the phrase Horatio utters when he faces the vision of the dead king in Hamlet, Brock-Broido, laments the passings of her father, her friend and fellow poet Liam Rector, Tookie Williams and other executed prisoners, wild mustangs, and her own past, younger selves, even as she fixes these spirits in language so lavish and richly layered it cannot be denied. READ MORE

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780307962027
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 10/2013

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.

Memo to booksellers: Avoid calling Mark Chiusano a “fresh voice in American lit.” Chiusanos voice isn’t fresh. It is knowing. Also: Piercing; clean; engaging; and wise. Use those words. Feel free to compare Chiusano to other young writers (Claire Vaye Watkins, Leslie Jamison) but comparisons to Junot Diaz and John Cheever are also accurate. Talk about how Marine Park documents the Brooklyn neighborhood that is its namesake, examining the grit without disparagement and always preserving the residents’ humanity. But assure potential readers that local knowledge isn’t a prerequisite. In the end, the book’s specificity of location is the device Chiusano uses to better show us ourselves. Alternatively, offer potential readers a chair. Invite them to sit and read one of the stories. Marine Park will then sell itself.
   Alan
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780143124603
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Penguin Books, 7/2014

 
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.

In Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux, consciousness is transplanted from body to body via a mysterious procedure that maps a person's linguistic patterns. The story itself is told by Nicholas Slopen, who by all accounts is dead. The idea that you can distill someone's mind from their writings might seem preposterous, unless you are a book lover who treats every book as a glimpse into its creator’s brain. Apart from the Frankenstein-esque setup, Strange Bodies grabbed me with its fascinating characters, reflections on parenting and being in love with your children, and occasional very spot-on observations about the human mind. It reminded me of Ruth Ozeki's Tale for the Time Being, and all of Bulgakov's works. It is fantastic (and fantastical!), smart, and powerful novel.

   Anton

Strange Bodies (Hardcover)

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780374270650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2/2014

Fiction, Science Fiction

Hannah's

Literary

Top 5

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

click here to see more of my recommendations.

Jonathan Lethem has long used his love of language and his acute sense of history to convey what’s best about the human aptitude for folly. Dissident Gardens (Doubleday, $27.95), his latest novel, spans three generations and their diverse cultural touchstones and political movements. From the Communism of the 1930s to the civil rights era to the post-idealism of the 1970s, this novel juggles shifts of hope and disillusionment, youthful idealism and jaded maturity. Lethem is particularly focused on the far left here, and we get the political scene through colorful family dynamics as the characters saw their way through time and each other’s lives.
   Hannah

Dissident Gardens (Hardcover)

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9780385534932
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday, 9/2013

2013 Holiday Newsletter, Fiction, New York Stories

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.

Can proofreaders save the world? Lose track of grammar, let typos slip in, and shoddy copy leads to the disruption of social order, lax moral and ethical standards, and even to geographical transpositions, giving rivers license to flow where roads are supposed to be. That’s the Borgesian premise of this brilliant and very funny novel about post-apartheid South Africa and how one curmudgeonly, nominally retired proofreader struggles to adjust to change. In fact, A. Tearle can’t cope with change at all, and eventually collides with a reality no amount of copyediting will alter. Stubborn and judgmental, even as he tries to follow friends’ advice “to take…fun more seriously,” Tearle might be insufferable in person, but as a character he’s sharp and observant; his compulsive citing of etymologies is a surprising and apt commentary on Johannesburg life.
   Laurie
$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781908276322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: And Other Stories, 4/2014

Fiction

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.

Alice McDermott’s wise and tender novel, Someone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25), is the distillation of a woman’s life from childhood to old age. We first meet Marie as she sits on the stoop of her Brooklyn house waiting for her father to get home from work, and later come to see how her middle-class Irish-Catholic family forms the core of her being. Moving among various key points of her life—early friendship, first love, first job, deaths of loved ones, raising a family—we witness the formation of her character as the world she knows changes around her. McDermott elegantly evinces the joys and heartbreaks of family and community, capturing the wonder and strangeness of a seemingly ordinary life.

   Mark L.

Someone (Hardcover)

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780374281090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9/2013

... And Today, 2013 Holiday Newsletter, Fiction