Saturday, October 10, 2009

We're Getting Some Books In Around Here

As you're no doubt aware, the Fall's harvest of books is an especially abundant one. No reader should be without this season with the bounty of good reads the UPS driver carts through our front door most every day these days.

Here is a picture of our front display, where we put the books by the highest-profile authors. Just arrived are books by Michael Chabon (on the right), Philip Roth (3rd shelf down) and Audrey Niffenegger (top right, kind of hard to see). Arriving in the next 30 days are books by Orhan Pamuk, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Safran Foer, Barbara Kingsolver, Malcolm Gladwell, Mary Karr and John Irving. Oh, and the fur-covered edition of Dave Eggers' Wild Things is en route. That is only a small sampling.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Caine Prize

Oprah recently announced her book club pick for 2009 as being Say You're One of Them by Nigerian writer, Uwem Akpan. Although readers in the United States may not be familiar with this choice, Akpan had been recognized a few years back, being shortlisted in 2008 for the Caine Prize. The Caine Prize (Africa's Booker Prize, some say), awards an African writer, writing in English, who excels in reflection of the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition. The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee) are all patrons of the Caine Prize, as is Chinua Achebe, winner of the Man Booker International Prize. 2009's recipient, E C Osondu (also from Nigeria), won with his short story "Waiting", which you can read here: Past winners and shortlisters include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for Purple Hibiscus (her most recent collection of stories, The Thing Around Your Neck is also noteworthy), Laila Lalami in 2006 and Leila Aboulela's "The Hotel". As story-telling is an integral part of many African cultures, hopefully the Caine Prize will continue to uphold the tradition and allow those in more distant lands to learn as well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Author Events!

Our Events widget has been updated with tons of upcoming readings and signings. There's even a puppet show coming to the store!

Don't miss Sherman Alexie signing books this Friday!!!!

(No, Daniel Handler won't be there. And authors won't have any more apocalyptic visions... hopefully)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The 2009 Booker Prize goes to. . . .

Congratulations to Hilary Mantel. Her latest book, Wolf Hall, just won the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Here's a link to the Booker's synopsis. And the New York Times story and review.

We had ordered just one copy which is due to arrive next week. But we'll order a big pile. Just call the store if you want to us to reserve you one and call you when it arrives.

If you're interested in the runners-up, the list is always a good guide to the best fiction published each year. It's here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!

A sleepless night or two ago, trying to bore myself to bed, I stumbled across this site. It's an archive of literary inspired work (well 99.9% literary), an amalgamation of various illustrators and designers depicting favorite authors, characters, etc. From the top there there's Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi's Hunter S. Thompson, Scott Campbell's Jules Verne side by side with his imagination, and Mike Mignola's Dracula.

The site itself is organized by both subject and artist, easy to navigate and easy to waste time on. Really I could post tons of favorites and go on and on about what I like and why, but instead I'll just leave everyone with this image of Jim Davis. Explore for yourself and enjoy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

From Pittsburgh...My Airplane Read

Hey everyone. I have just landed in Pittsburgh, PA, and I thought I would post before I hit the sack, seeing as I have to hunt though warehouses for remainders at 8am Eastern tomorrow.

So here is the book I just finished on the plane.

For awhile now I've seen the beautifully designed cover of José Luís Peixoto's book The Implacable Order of Things with "Winner of the Jose Saramago Literary Award" at the bottom. I have twice picked the book up, read the back, and immediately put it back on the shelf.

The description of this book does it a huge disservice.

Yes, there are "a pair of twins conjoined at the pinky, a 120-year-old wise man, a shepherd turned cuckold by a giant, and even the devil himself," but--as the back of the book states--these characters are far from an "oddball cast."

These are deeply complex and sorrowful characters who seek the meaning of love and life. There is something refreshingly ordinary about each one. Though unique, they are also simple townspeople dealing with the trauma of love and death, of family and loneliness.

This novel is like a river. The repetition and story wind in and out of generations like currents. If Luís Peixoto is not yet known as one of the best writers from Portugal, if not the world, this young writer soon will be.