“What do you think, pal?” That’s the genial, solicitous voice of Roger Rosenblatt, talking to you, reader. And so engaging is this voice that you feel he really wants to know and is right there, listening. Of course, this could be just one of the skills he picked up in his days as The Boy Detective (Ecco, $19.99), when he roamed New York searching for crimes and clues. Still at it decades later, in this palimpsest of a memoir Rosenblatt the writer, editor, and teacher returns to his erstwhile stomping grounds, looking back to the boy he was and the city he knew. In short paragraphs the concise shape of snapshots or city blocks, Rosenblatt celebrates urban walking in general and New York City in particular (where, Whitman-like, he’s “remaking solitude into multitude”), pointing out landmarks, sites of former landmarks, and the homes of a huge cast of writers, actors, and other cultural icons. Like the walks, Rosenblatt’s reflections are inexhaustible; after all, however skilled a detective you are, ultimately “we are mysteries to ourselves, crimes never to be solved.”

The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062241337
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco - November 5th, 2013

The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062277190
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco - September 23rd, 2014

A chemist before World War II, Primo Levi added a second career as a writer after it, publishing If this be a Man, the first of his dozen-plus books of memoir, fiction, and poetry, in 1947. Was Levi’s wartime experience—his activity with the Italian partisans and his captivity in Auschwitz—what made him a writer? Would he have written if he hadn’t felt compelled—like the Ancient Mariner—to tell his story? This is one of the endlessly ponderable questions the philosopher Berel Lang raises in Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life (Yale Univ., $25). This unconventional biography approaches its subject through a series of inquiries. Was Levi’s death a suicide? An accident? Something else? Did his writing lack any literary impetus, serving purely as “a public service,” as Levi claimed? How strong a part of his identity was Judaism, and was that, too, intensified by what happened in the 1940s? Lang reports Levi’s statements on these and other issues, considering myriad ideas and interpretations, all the while making a case for Levi as one of the world’s great moralist writers, in the same category with Aesop, Montaigne, Thoreau, Camus, and Orwell.
Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life (Jewish Lives) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300137231
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - November 26th, 2013

S. (Mulholland, $35), a library book (complete with a Dewey decimal number on its spine) with artifacts tucked between its pages and a correspondence filling its margins, is a mysterious and beautiful object. In it, J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst weave a multi-layered story of a notorious and secretive author and the two young strangers on a mission to discover his identity and the truth behind his disappearance. The plot of the novel, The Ship of Theseus, unfolds simultaneously with the dialogue scribbled around its edges, telling the two intertwined stories at once and inviting the reader to put the pieces together and find out what happened. S. is an ingenious puzzle full of wonder and artful detail, a book to be explored and be savored.
S. Cover Image
By J. J. Abrams (Created by), Doug Dorst
ISBN: 9780316201643
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - October 29th, 2013