Friday, December 31, 2010

My odds and ends for 2010

The last few weeks have been very busy and that's been fun and fulfilling and a little helter-skelter. So something had to fall of my to-do list and it was finishing these lists. I will end the year with one and finish with a history list from Tom and some kids lists from Dara--our kids buyer extraordinaire.

The quirks and oddballs list

"The Native Trees of Canada" by Leanne Shapton(Drawn and Quarterly)
"Infinite City" by Rebecca Solnit(University of California Press)
"Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds" by John Bevis(MIT Press)
"One Hundred Portraits" by Barry Moser(David R. Godine Publisher)
"The Man Who Loved Books Too Much" by Allison Hoover Bartlett(Riverhead Books)
"FreeDarko Presents the Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History"(Bloomsbury)
"X'ed Out" by Charles Burns(Pantheon)
"The Atlas of Remote Islands" by Judith Schalansky(Penguin)
"The Book of 'Unnecessary' Quotation Marks" by Bethany Keeley(Chronicle Books)
"Moby Dick" by Jens Hoffmann(Cca Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts)

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of this kind of stuff. Visually attractive, smart and outside the main scope of what sells.

As I get set to close the store in about half an hour and close the books on another year of adventure in books for us, it's only fair to say thank you. Thank you to those of you who are customers and help support us. Thanks to the publishing folk who sell us and educate us about books. There are no finer people to fight the good fight with. And to those of you who are friends of the store or who check out the blog we appreciate that interest as well.

See you in 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Memoir/Essay 2010

"Happy" by Alex Lemon(Simon and Schuster)
"Long Way Home" by Bill Barich(Walker and Co.)
"Blood-Dark Track" by Joseph O'Neill(Random House)
"News To Me" by Laurie Hertzel(University of Minnesota Press)
"Half a Life" by Darin Strauss(McSweeney's Books)
"The Routes of Man" by Ted Conover(Random House)
"Florence: A Map of Perceptions" by Andrea Ponsi(University of Virginia Press)
"A Week at the Airport" by Alain de Botton(Random House)
"Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kacznski"(Feral House)
"Ghostbread" by Sonja Livingston(University of Georgia Press)

Two things to note from this list. Regarding the book of essays by the Unabomber, he received no compensation. A portion of all proceeds from the book went to the American Red Cross. Second, all three of the collections that I chose written by women were published by University Presses. I don't know what that means for certain.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Oaxaca al Gusto" by Diana Kennedy(University of Texas Press)
"Shefzilla" by Stewart Woodman(Borealis Books)
"I Love Macarons" by Hisako Ogita(Chronicle Books)
"The Geometry of Pasta" by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kennedy(Quirk)
"My Calabria" by Rosetta Costantino(W.W. Norton)
"One Big Table" by Molly O'Neill(Simon and Schuster)
"Essential New York Times Cookbook:Classic Recipes For a New Century by Amanda Hesser(W.W. Norton)
"Keys to Good Cooking" by Harold McGee(Penguin Press)
"Canal House Cooking Volume 5" This is actually a magazine done in book format and each issue is a treasure.
"The Vegetarian Option" by Simon Hopkinson(Stewart, Tabori&Chang

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Hours

We will be open 10-3 on 12/24 and 12/31.

We will be closed 12/25, 1/1 and 1/2 for store inventory.


2010 Poetry Picks

"Lament For the Makers" W.S. Merwin, editor.(Counterpoint)
"Low Down and Coming On" James Lenfesty, editor. (Red Dragonfly Press)
"One With Others" C.D. Wright(Copper Canyon Press)
"Mean Free Path" Ben Lerner(Copper Canyon Press)
"10 Mississippi" Steve Healey(Coffee House Press)
"Phantom Noise" Brian Turner(Alice James Books)
"Holding Company" Major Jackson(W.W. Norton)
"Warhorses" Yusef Komunyakaa(FSG)
"Working Words" M.L. Liebler, editor.(Coffee House Press)
"Sharks in the Rivers" Ada Limon(Milkweed Editions)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My fiction of 2010

I decided to switch it up a little this year. I'm doing lists of 10 but it isn't necessarily Top 10 in order--those kind of things bother me a little because it's really splitting hairs at a certain point.

So here are ten books of fiction I found to be thought-provoking or important to me. In no order.

"In a Strange Room" by Damon Galgut(Europa Editions)
"Lord of Misrule" by Jaimy Gordon(McPherson)
"Gold Boy, Emerald Girl" by Yiyun Li(Random House)
"The Instructions" by Adam Levin(Mcsweeney's)
"February" by Lisa Moore(Black Cat)
"Dogfight, a Love Story" by Matt Burgess(Random House)
"Vestments" by John Reimringer(Milkweed Editions)
"What is Left the Daughter" by Howard Norman(Houghton Mifflin)
"Under This Unbroken Sky" by Shandi Mitchell(Harper)
"Lightning" by Fred Stenson(Douglas&McIntyre)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bullet Point Friday

It's been a busy Friday and with a massive snowstorm(maybe) approaching, all I can put together is some quick but worthwhile notes. My lists of ten in various categories will be getting posted next week starting on Monday. Fiction will bat lead-off.

*Keith Hollihan is reading here on the 15th at 7 p.m. Check this out.

*Here's a little feature on the store that was posted this week.

*I am blatantly stealing this quote from our good friends in New York City at Three Lives and Co. They have a fantastic store and in their December e-mail to customers they included a line from Patti Smith when she was accepting her National Book Award. She said,"Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don't abandon the book.There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book." Hurray for Patti Smith.

*Speaking of hurray, huge congrats to Graywolf Press. They will publish Liu Xiaobo in English.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The new men's lit.

The trend of chick-lit with its bubble-gum covers seems to have passed. And while I am usually hesitant to label most novels as his/her books, I am noticing a new trend. There is a new wave of young men writing novels that are, for lack of a better term, very masculine. It would be too easy to link these books to Hemingway or Raymond Carver. Yet that is what happens.

Benjamin Percy created some waves a few years back with the release of his short story collection "Refresh, Refresh" which was a raw and well-honed grouping of work. He read at Micawber's and his made for radio bass voice only contributed to the manliness. His new novel "The Wilding" is a look at fathers and sons and hunting and living in wilderness. “Benjamin Percy’s The Wilding is a tour de force meditation and treatise on the nature of violence, the violence of nature, man in the wild, and the wild in man—cleverly disguised as a page-turning adventure. Not just a ‘must’ read, but a need read, this book is timely, terrifying, terrific.”

I half-joked with Erin Kottke of Graywolf a week back that they were creating quite the stable of these new writers. Yet, it's true. In March of 2011 they will release a collection of stories by Alan Heathcock entitled "Volt" that seem to be wayward cousins of Percy's writing. All set in an unnamed locale, these are also stories that grab you and shake you and, ultimately, remind you that violence and tenderness are not mutually exclusive.

It's possible that the success of Cormac McCarthy, in film and books(again), has led to this. Or it could be something else entirely. Creston Lea, Keith Hollihan and Donald Ray Pollock are three other writers with new books I would add to this group. While not written for men alone, there is a high charge of testosterone running through the work that cannot be denied.

Ben Percy will be reading at the store on Monday December 6th at 7 p.m. and Keith Hollihan will read from his debut novel on Wednesday the 15th at 7 p.m. "The Four Stages of Cruelty" is a stunner of a book filled with moral questions and answers.

Please do join us for both--you will not be disappointed.