Monday, May 24, 2021

Staff Recommendations, Week of May 25, 2021

Welcome once again to the Boswellians weekly roundup of our staff recommendations! A few new books have grabbed our attention this week, so let's get down to it.

First we have proprietor Daniel Goldin for The Guncle, the new novel by Steven Rowley, author of books like Lily and the Octopus. Of the latest, Daniel says, "Patrick O’Hara, Golden Globe winner of the iconic television comedy The People Upstairs, has been holed up in Palm Springs after the cancellation of his show and the death of his partner. When his college buddy turned sister-in-law also dies, and his brother confronts his addictions by heading to rehab, Patrick agrees to take in his niblings Grant and Maisie for the summer. As Patrick’s disagreeable sister Clara notes, Patrick is no Rosalind Russell, but that doesn’t stop The Guncle from calling to mind Auntie Mame, notably when the ready-made family has a Christmas-in-July party. I’m well aware that quirky children are a shortcut to sympathy – ask any screenwriter – but Maisie and Grant (or Grantelope; nicknames don’t become Maisie) do a particularly good job of forcing Patrick to overcome his grief-fueled-malaise. And like Rowley’s novel, they are also charming and funny."

Next is Jen Steele for Shark Summer, a new graphic novel by Ira Marcks. Officially recommended for ages 9 - 12, I think it's safe to say Jen recommends this for everyone. She says, "It is going to be a busy summer for star pitcher Gayle Briar. Gayle and her mom have moved to Martha’s Vineyard to open an ice cream stand, but the grand opening has been put on hold since Gayle broke her arm in a baseball game. Not to mention the biggest news, Hollywood has descended on Martha's Vineyard! Here to film a shark movie and hold a youth film festival, this small community is overrun with shark talk. When Gayle learns that there is a big cash prize for the winner of the film festival, she gets to work, along with Elijah Jones, future cinematographer, and Maddie Grey, director, who is set on uncovering the islands’ darkest secret. Shark Summer is a lively read with engaging characters and fantastic artwork."

Finally, we've got a two-fer - as in, two booksellers who are going for The Blacktongue Thief, the latest fantasy from beloved writer of horror and adventure Christopher Buehlman. First it's Jason Kennedy, who says this: "Christopher Buehlman hasn’t just written a really good epic fantasy; he has taken the reader and dunked them into a world full of joy, wonder, heartbreak, foulness, horror, and hope. Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. The prose! And the dialogue was so perfect, I was laughing out loud from the snark that Kinch Na Shannack narrated his story with, and I was cringing from vicious, nasty goblin attacks or towering giants tossing trees. Kinch owes the Takers Guild for his education, and when they tell him to accompany a knight on her quest, he has no other option – he must go. Know that there is so much to this book; Buehlman will take you down crazy paths that will delight and fright, but I will not say any more about the surprises that are in the book. Go read it now!"

And then a final recommendation from Ogi Ubiparipovic, a former bookseller who's recently moved on to a new job. Ogi leaves behind this glowing write-up: "A cut above most other fantasy books, The Blacktongue Thief is a masterclass in world building, storytelling, and humor.  I can whole-heartedly say that I could spend the next two hours telling you everything I loved about this book, and it still wouldn't be enough to show you how amazing this book really is. The best thing about it? It's the start of a series! We get MORE of this! Thank Fothannon Foxfoot for that."

One paperback release gets the Boswellian treatment this week, and that's the paperback edition of hyper-fun horror author Grady Hendrix: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires. Chris Lee recommends this one - he says: "I’m a sucker for a good vampire story, especially one that gleefully cribs from Stoker’s Dracula, and this ‘stranger (who’s probably a vampire) comes to town’ tale is tops. Hendrix transplants classic bloodsucker tropes to suburban South Carolina in the 90’s. As much as this is a fun idea book, Hendrix also has hardened horror chops; one rodent infested scene is going to keep my skin crawling forever - and I like rats! He’s not shy about social issues, either. It’s not exactly missing children from the white picket fence side of town who are left out of the news, and the book’s heroine reveals the strength and resolve of a middle class housewife and mom who maybe feels like feminist empowerment has passed her by. For anyone who likes smart, stylish horror that’s soaked in pop culture with a pinch of 90’s nostalgia, you’re going to love sinking your fangs into this book."

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