Monday, May 10, 2021

Staff Recommendations, Week of May 11, 2021

A couple brand new hardcovers plus a handful of paperback releases make this one week of publication we recommend you pay attention to.

First up - Margaret Kennedy recommends Mary Jane, the latest from Jessica Anya Blau, author of novels like Drinking Closer to Home and The Summer of Wonder Bread. Margaret says, "Amidst the clashing viewpoints and lifestyles of 1970s America, one teen girl tries to make sense of it all and find out who she wants to be in Mary Jane. The story opens on a 14-year-old girl from a straight-laced, conservative family whose worldview is shaken when she takes a summer nanny job for a doctor. Expecting a family much like her own, Mary Jane is surprised and strangely delighted when the Cones turn out to be a bohemian, openly amorous, rock n' roll couple with a free-spirited 5-year-old. On top of it all, a rock star and his famous wife are living in the attic as the doctor helps the rocker recover from his drug addiction. Throughout the summer, Mary Jane encounters and embraces new music, new clothes, and a new way of looking at herself and what she wants to be, all while inadvertently helping the Cone family and their guests grow as well. A wonderful read about found families and finding yourself - this is already one of my favorites of the year!"

Then Daniel Goldin writes about one of our upcoming event books: Swimming Back to Trout River, by Linda Rui Feng. Daniel says, "Dawn is an architecture student whose love for Beethoven and classical music proves to have dangerous consequences during China’s Cultural Revolution. Momo is another music lover, but he safely kept to engineering. And as for Cassia, the love of her life was attacked for being the son of a spy, and worse, for liking Western literature. Cassia wound up marrying Momo and mothering Junie, but the parents struggle with June’s disability, and a second pregnancy does not fare better. All three adults wind up in the United States, but the mess of the past isn’t any less messy stateside as it casts a shadow on the present. Linda Rui Feng’s gift is in the descriptions, the little moments, and the internal ruminations. Quietly beautiful!"

That's it for the new-in-hardcover releases. How about some paperback picks:

Rose Camara suggests Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide from Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Rose says, "Are you a murderino? Written with the flare, straightforward, and comedic tone akin to their hit podcast My Favorite Murder, Karen Kilgarifrf and Georgia Hardstark grace their murderino followers and the rest of their readers with a book that is all memoir with some self-help in the mix. This dual memoir is written with a been-there-done-that attitude that's all at once honest, heartfelt, and hilarious. It’s a memoir of how these women became who they are. I recommend this for true crime lovers, murderinos, and fans of bad-ass women in general. SSDGM."

Conrad Silverberg gives a royal recommendation to The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips. Conrad says, "For the life of me, I can't figure out why Arthur Phillips isn't a better seller. His stories are diverse, beautifully written, and engaging. His characters are fully realized and complex. He never repeats himself. This is his sixth novel, and it's simply wonderful. We follow a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and intellectually curious doctor who is forced to leave his home in one of the world's most glittering metropolises and accompany an embassy to one of the world's most depressingly squalid, backwater cities. Mahmoud Ezzedine is a Turkish Muslim who has been betrayed and abandoned in London by an unscrupulous countryman. England nervously awaits the death of Elizabeth I and everyone schemes about her replacement. The main candidate is the Scottish king, James VI, but no one is sure if he's a fellow Protestant, and therefore a safe choice, or a closeted Catholic who might slaughter them all as heretics. Ezzedine finds Christian differences to be unintelligible and bizarre, but he is drawn in anyway and forced to reluctantly play his part."

And finally, this Tuesday is an auspicious one, as it's paperback release day for our in-store hit Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession. We have five (5!!!) in-house reads on this wonderful novel - so how about a few words from all five booksellers? Okay!

Daniel says, "Perfect for fans of  - dare I say it? - A Man Called Ove. It was recommended to me by two customers, and now I’m recommending it to you!"

Chris Lee says, "A little heartwarming, a little depressing, this book throws its dart right in the middle of a cheerful / thoughtful / melancholy Venn diagram. The best thing about L&HP is the sense of calm it leaves behind."

Jane Glaser says, "Generates a sense of wisdom and leaves the reader with a calmness beyond the plot, in a world overrun by uncertainty and endless noise. Will continue to inspire with each re-read."

Jenny Chou says, "After the year we’ve all just had, it’s the book we all deserve."

And Jason Kennedy ends us with, "A heartwarming tale that will cause you to smile and laugh as you read. It did for me."

Need more convincing? Check out the lovely conversation we had with author Hession recently, as he visited us via the internet all the way from Ireland:

What are you waiting for? Grab your copy of each of these books now - that's what I recommend.

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