Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy birthday, Hemingway!

A very happy 113th birthday to one of America's most celebrated icons, and one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway is one of those names that I grew up just knowing. Admittedly, I did not read any of Hemingway's work until I was in college, but I had always known of him - a courageous, rugged, globe-trotting hunter. A spy. A war hero. An adventurer...a man's man. As an impressionable young buck, this larger-than-life character appealed to me, so I began to explore the Hemingway library. Much to my surprise, the piece that I ended up enjoying the most - the book that I now keep a copy of wherever I go - represents the opposite of the macho Hemingway persona that I had come to venerate: A Moveable Feast.

A Moveable Feast is the collection of Hemingway's memoirs of his time spent in 1920's Paris. It is a rare glimpse of the man as a young, contagiously enthusiastic author experimenting with his craft. There are no rugged heroes, no stiff dialogue; just a lean, romantic, and genuine account of Hemingway's experiences with love and life. My favorite passages are those in which he enchantingly describes food and drink, such as:

" I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans..."

Pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, or a cold glass of wine, and treat yourself to Ernest Hemingway's final triumph.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

What We're Recommending - 7/19

Our staff rec shelves in-store are populated with a variety of titles - new and old - and while they're best experienced in person, they can also be browsed online.  Here's a round-up of the latest in bookseller recs.

$24.95 hardcover / $14.95 paperback
Office Girl by Joe Meno*
It is 1999 in snowy Chicago, and art school dropout Odile (pronounced O-deel) is having a rough time: she is stuck in a dead end office job, in love with a married man, and can't create any interesting art. Nick is a twenty-four-year-old, chronically depressed, and soon to be divorced artist who is obsessed with recording sounds of the city. Together they decide to start their own art movement that celebrates the transitory, fleeting moments of contemporary life. Office Girl is a sweet, snowy bicycle ride through the uncertainties and difficulties of post-college life.

$13.95 paperback
No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym
Delightful mid-twentieth century comedy of manners, eccentricities, and foibles of a love triangle set in the world of British academia. Refresh your summer reading; discover Barbara Pym at her insightful, and witty, best! Great with iced tea.

$24.99 hardcover / $11.99 ebook

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
A really sweet book with characters you'll care about and a plot that will keep you engaged. Yet another wonderful voice from the South.

$13.99 paperback / $9.99 ebook
Up Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore*
From cryogenics to Woodstock, ancient Egypt to the first video game console--the devil as a (wooden) hand in all human matters. Follow this villain through key moments in human history and rethink the nature of love, compassion, and evil.

$15 paperback

The Waitress Was New by Dominique Fabre
Veteran bartender Pierre is forced to take stock of his life after his beloved cafe (more of a home, really) is closed. A sweet, deeply emotive tale that celebrates the ordinary man.

$16 paperback / $9.99 ebook
The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
A young Vietnamese American woman comes to Hanoi to search for information about her father,a  dissident artist who disappeared during the war. This brings her in contact with Hung, an old man whose touching story personalizes the years of political chaos and the resulting human toll. Beautiful!!!

$26.95 hardcover / $13.99 ebook
Niceville by Carsten Stroud
Niceville starts off with a child's disappearance, moves into a deadly, brutal police chase, then shakes things up with a bit of supernatural phenomenon. It's a sucker-punch-to-the-gut sort of story; Stroud's novel never lets up, and will keep you awake late into the night.

$18 hardcover
Things That Are by Amy Leach
With Seussian rhythms and Thoreauvian observations, Amy Leach explores how nature reflects our own humanity in this sparkling, priceless gem of an essay collection. Whether discoursing on the familial carpentry partnerships of beavers, why ferrets likely do not utter the word "God," or the destiny of our galaxy after the stars burn out, she enlarges the tiniest microcosms of nature - the things we do not see unless we stop to look, quietly and closely - until we feel as much a part of the birds and the earth as we do our homes and cities.

*Joe Meno will be at Boswell on August 2nd at 7pm, with Dan Nowak
Michael Poore will be opening for Lev Grossman on August 7th at 7pm.