Monday, November 22, 2021

Staff Recommendations, Week of November 23, 2021

Another week, another round of recommendations. We think you will enjoy these books, hopefully as much as we did!

First it's Daniel Goldin for a much-anticipated release, the latest from author & independent bookshop proprietor Ann Patchett: These Precious Days: Essays. From Daniel: "At first, I thought this book was a follow-up to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and why not? Patchett wrote this was the case in her introduction, which laid out why, when an author writes essays, they don’t worry about dying in the middle of writing them the way many do with novels. Sure enough, there are meditations on knitting, flying (or rather her husband flying and Patchett passengering), writing (of course), and my personal favorite, a salute to Snoopy. Speaking of flying, it’s hard for Patchett to fly under the radar; what book lover hasn’t read her appreciation of Kate Di Camillo, which first appeared in The New York Times? But the more I read, the more I see two themes took root: the value of friendship and the transience of life, which come together in the also well-known title essay. And in that way, the book started reminding me more of Patchett’s first nonfiction book, Truth and Beauty, about her friendship with the poet Lucy Grealey. And that’s a good thing – the result is a powerful, heartfelt collection."

Next up, Jason Kennedy recommends The Anomaly, by Hervé Le Tellier, translated by Adriana Hunter. From Jason: "A plane appears over the sky in the Atlantic heading to New York. Nothing astonishing with that, except this same plane already landed three months ago. How is this possible? And how does this change our perception of the world? So many questions, and not a lot of answers, but The Anomaly is full of great discourse that will have you contemplating our choices and responsibilities in the world. There is a little bit of everything in this book: a love story, a thriller, a coming-out-story, a sci-fi tale, and childhood trauma. This is a book you can read and consume quickly, but I guarantee your mind will be full for quite some time, digesting all the minutia that makes up this great speculative novel."

Jen Steele, who's taken over kids buying this year, has been recommending up a storm of great kids books. She suggests The Legend of the Christmas Witch, by Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza. Jen says: "This is not your ordinary Santa Claus story. This is the tale of two siblings separated at a young age. One will grow up to become the legendary Kris Kringle, and one will grow up to become the Christmas Witch. This is her tale. A tale of sorrow and magic, love and family, power and danger. The Legend of the Christmas Witch is a wonderfully folkloric book that should be added to your family story time during the season."

Out in paperback this week: 

Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind got two bookseller recs here at Boswell. First, from Chris Lee: "Leave the World Behind is the kind that asks people find out who they are when the crisis comes. When strangers knock on the door, when the technology fails, when the animals start acting weird and the whole world becomes a threat. Yet these people aren’t ex-military-loner action movie heroes, they’re not the plucky last-girl-standing from your favorite slasher flick. They’re just your average, all-American family of the dwindling middle class. Alam’s magic trick here is his ability to draw you so close to these characters with such intimate detail that within a few chapters they become as familiar as a reflection. So by the time things become, let’s say, strange, it’s not just one family’s worst fears on display. Alam is holding up a mirror so we can see some of our own. This is a book about all the ways the vast world can so quickly reduce us to the animals we’ve always been - scared, fragile, and oh so human."

Kay Wosewick adds: "Two very different families reluctantly agree to temporarily share a remote Long Island house owned by one of the families. Over the course of three days, all six individuals encounter odd phenomena, usually while alone. Eventually, they all are well-aware that something strange is happening, but no one can articulate what it is. Rumaan's portrayal of a world suddenly turned upside down, and his characters' unfolding reactions to it, are unsettlingly credible."

See you next week! Happy Thanksgiving, happy reading!

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