Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Boswellian Top 5's of 2017 part three

If you have been shopping with us over the years, then I’m pretty sure that you know who Conrad is. He is the special order guru. Much like Aaron in a previous post, Conrad is a fixture of Boswell. I started working with him back in 2003, when this was Harry W. Schwartz bookshop. He’s been here longer than that even. He has some great diverse choices below, he’s reading range is long and wide and it’s always interesting to see what has sparked his interest this past year.
Café Neandertal by Beebe Bahrami
 The Dordogne is one of the most concentrated areas in Europe for archaeological research into our ancient past. Café Neandertal explores not only the ancient history of our ancestors and our closest relatives  the Neandertals, but also delves into the culture and people of the region now. Written by the travel writer Beebe Bahrami, this is the perfect travel companion for anyone vacationing in France, and in particular a region that has been the perfect travel destination for over 400,000 years. $26.00
World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein
Some years mark a stark division, separating what comes before from what comes after in uncompromising and irreversible terms: 1776, 1865, 1945 are obvious examples. For literature, 1922 is such a year. Bookended by the February publishing of James Joyce's Ulysses, considered by many to be the single greatest novel in the English language, and the translation of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time in the fall, the year marks a clean break from traditional forms of linear narrative storytelling, and plunges us deep into the psychological explorations and innovative structures of modernist writing. As Willa Cather reflected in 1936, "The World Broke in Two in 1922 or thereabouts." Goldstein's book is a lively, nuanced, and utterly enthralling tale of how this break affected four writers in particular: Virginia Wolff, TS Eliot, EM Forester and DH Lawrence, who all struggled with and found renewed inspiration from this new world.
$30.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $24.00
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
The early Twentieth Century cotton mills of North Carolina prove a fertile ground for union organizing and for this deeply troubling and engrossing novel. An impoverished single-mother, deserted by her husband and struggling to provide for her kids, chooses to fight her bosses and unionize. In the face of overwhelmingly toxic opposition from the mill owners and their hired thugs, she becomes an organizer and troubadour for worker's rights. Ultimately, it costs her her life. Her example compels her family and compatriots to continue the struggle without her. This is a pretty grim read, but it's filled with hope and inspiration, and is lyrically written in the elevated prose of Southern Gothic at its best.
$26.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $21.59 
Fresh Complaints by Jeffrey Eugenides (perhaps a few signed copies still left)
These short stories span Eugenides' long career, and are filled with the provocative, carefully observed lives of some of his most intriguing characters: people who meet their circumstances head on, the kind of characters we have come to expect from this gifted writer. Some of the stories are clearly dry runs for his later novels (see if you can spot them!) and hint at how Eugenides develops character and plot. All fit neatly into his body of work. The stories, while filled with angst, and world-weariness, and a questing search for identity that challenges fate, are nonetheless leavened with dark humor and a self-deprecating awareness of the foibles of grandiose self-delusion. $27.00 
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
A new translation of a book that took a lifetime to write and which quickly settled into the canon of great European literature after its posthumous release. Largely autobiographical and written in the form of a diary, this is nonetheless a monumental achievement in fiction (or as Pessoa described it with tongue planted firmly in cheek, 'factless autobiography'). In many ways he prefigures the existentialists of the mid-Twentieth Century, grappling with ideas of identity and meaning with a languid shrug of fatalism. Dive into the 'somber majesty of splendours no one knows' and learn why Pessoa stands shoulder to shoulder with the world's most profoundly original and engaging novelists. $24.95  
Barbara has been a wonderful addition to our staff over the last few years. Her knowledge and love of books is infectious! If I know she is working and I have children’s book question, then I go straight to her as she will have an answer right at her fingertips. I can only imagine it was painful to narrow down her books of 2017 to a top 5, but her list looks fantastic.
Restart by Gordon Korman
Why are students backing away from 8th grader,Chase Ambrose as he walks down school corridors? Chase has a problem: he doesn't recognize his family or friends since he fell off his roof and developed amnesia. Short chapters alternate between Chase and six classmates' point of view, as readers learn that Chase is a very different person after the fall! He begins to realize the impact he had on classmates' lives before falling, when perhaps he was a bully. Restart is filled with memorable characters, humor, and surprising twists and turns in the story. Can Chase make amends for his previous bad behavior and re-invent himself? Will he make the most of the second chance he has been given?
$16.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $13.59
Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood, illustrated by David Wyatt
This exciting fantasy adventure tale tells the story of Podkin, the lazy rabbit son of the chieftan of Munbury Warren. When evil creatures called Gorm invade Podkin's home, he, his older sister Paz and little brother Pook are able to escape. They take and protect a magical daggar the Gorm are seeking. Beautiful descriptive language brings the rabbits' many adventures to life, as they flee to safety. With the help of his sister and brother, as well as friends made on his journey, Podkin gains confidence to become a brave chieftan. This is storytelling at its best!
$16.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $13.59
Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin 
"Undefeated" is another gem from award winning author, Steve Sheinkin. It is the compelling biography of Jim Thorpe, a famous Indian football player in the early 1900's and also the 1912 Olympic track star who was said to be "the best athlete on the planet." In a conversational style, master storyteller Sheinkin presents an extremely readable and well researched look at Thorp's complicated and stranger than fiction life. It highlights his time at the Carlisle Indian School and tells the story of his head coach, "Pop" Warner. How the game of football evolved during Thorp's active years is fascinating. This book is a MUST READ for lovers of exceptional biographies. $19.99
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia, illustrated by Frank Morrison
This small book grabs readers' emotions as they begin to know Clayton Byrd. Playing the blues harp (harmonica) with his beloved grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd and the Bluesmen band is the highlight of Clayton's life. When Cool Papa Byrd dies suddenly, Clayton is devastated, and has to face his mother, who seems not to understand Clayton or his grandfather. Running away to find the Bluesmen, Clayton goes underground to the New York subway, where he finds TROUBLE! Written with beautiful rhythmic language, the complex dynamics of a family comes to life. Rita Williams-Garcia has crafted a powerful and exceptional book! $16.99
Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley, Marjory Wentworth, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
This is a poetry book unlike all others. Original poems are written by award winning poet, Kwame Alexander and two other respected poets. The authors celebrate twenty famous poets from around the world who lived from the 1200's to the present. In one section, the poems copy the style of poets such as Nikki Giovanni and Robert Frost, while another section highlights feelings and themes of authors such as Pablo Neruda and Emily Dickinson. The last section thanks many poets for their talents. Breathtaking multi-media collages enhance each poem with vibrant colors and dramatic compositions. More information about each poet is at the end of the book. Children and adults will be motivated to read each poet's work and even write their own poems. This is a stunning book to treasure!
$16.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $13.59

Olivia S is our resident Harry Potter expert, I’m not saying the rest of us know nothing, but she knows pretty much everything. Come in and try to stump her with a Potter question, I dare you. She is one busy person, as she balances school, family, clubs and work. It's amazing her top 5 list is so good, because her interests pull her in a bunch of directions.  
It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Immerse yourself in the phenomenally strange town of Night Vale and the stories of those brave enough to try and save it in this captivating new novel. Nilanjana Sikdar, avid scientist and outsider to Night Vale, takes on an investigation that leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God as devastating seismic events occur around town and the data leads to dangerous hypotheses. Science and religion collide as Nilanjana works with Darryl, a devoted member of the Congregation, growing closer to him despite their very different ideals, beliefs, and worldviews while they struggle through confusing leads and frightening realizations surrounding the nature of the Smiling God. As the Congregation cheerfully proclaims- or perhaps warns: it devours. Surrounded by beings of uncertain malevolence, Nilanjana and Darryl soon realize that the true threat to Night Vale may lie closer to home than anyone- especially logical,  Nilanjana or trusting, committed Darryl- suspects. This is an original, stand-alone story and can be read by die-hard fans of the podcast and newcomers alike. $21.99
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling and Illustrated by Jim Kay
The third book of the phenomenal and beloved Harry Potter series joins the first and second illustrated editions; the story we all know and love is filled with beautiful illustrations on every page. Join Harry, Ron, and Hermione in their third year at Hogwarts school, where they find mystery, magic, and danger- now in full color!
$39.99 on Boswell Best till the end of the year for $31.99
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman's retelling of classic Norse myths is an amazing piece of storytelling, with wildly interesting tales in Gaiman's beautiful and distinctive narrative voice. Discover the stories behind Odin's cunning, Loki's mischief, Thor's strength, Freya's counsel, and the beginning and end of all things. A perfect gift for fans of history, mythology, and powerful stories.
$25.95 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.76
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls tells the stories of 100 brave, intelligent, resilient, and determined women from a wide variety of cultures, specializations, and walks of life. These inspiring stories of strength, innovation, and accomplishment against all odds will educate and encourage all who read them- and there's even space at the end for you to tell your own story.
$35.00 on Boswell Best till the end of the year for $28.00
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater
In a marvelous feat of storytelling and an ode to wonder, Stiefvater's beautiful narrative voice brings readers to the small desert town of Bicho Raro, Colorado, 1962. Waiting there is a community of saints and pilgrims, miracles and darkness, and owls and radio waves. Dive into a tale of family, love, sacrifice and discovery. These characters will steal your heart; the story's end will melt it.
$18.99 on Boswell Best till the end of the year for $15.19
One more post and we'll have toured the booksellers top 5's for 2017.

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