Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Staff Recommendations, Week of April 19, 2022

A few recommendations to keep you reading this week. Let's dive in.

First, new and in hardcover and recommended by Jason Kennedy, is End of the World House, the new novel from Adrienne Celt, author of books like Invitation to a Bonfire. From Jason: "After terrorist attacks quiet and travel bans are lifted, Bertie and Kate take a trip to Paris to see the Louvre. They meet a stranger who tells them he can get them into the Louvre on a day that it is closed. So they enter the museum and are soon stuck in a time loop. They lose each other, but only Bertie realizes it. This is a quiet and disturbing view of how relationships change, happen, and end. A really brilliant novel."

And recommendations for books getting their paperback releases today:

Kay Wosewick, reader of varied books and finder of unexpected gems, recommends The Interim, by Wolfgang Hilbig, and translated by Isabel Fargo Cole. Kay says: "Beware, Hilbig’s gut-wrenching prose may haunt you for days. C. and fellow countrymen living in the German Democratic Republic after WW2 are expected to agreeably do their assigned jobs; after all, only those who experienced the Holocaust have legitimate reason to complain. Assigned to a prestigious factory job requiring almost no real work, C. fails, spectacularly. Demoted to lowly jobs, he finds time to write and publish poetry. C.’s poetry gains international recognition, and he is allowed to spend several years in Berlin and elsewhere doing poetry readings. He often returns the GDR to visit his girlfriend and mother, but whether he’s there or in Germany, he relentlessly tells himself he is worthless. Frequent heavy drinking exacerbates C.’s self-denigration. Eventually facing the choice of life in Berlin with one woman or life in the GDR with another, C. is paralyzed and confused, taking trains from one city to another, and finally in circles. The Interim is a dark novel by a famous German author, perfectly befitting dark times."

And three recommendations for books getting their paperback releases today:

Featuring a recommendation from Conrad Silverberg, it's The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance, by Ross King. Here's what Conrad thinks: "Continues King's long fascination and study of that great city, this time with a topic near and dear to our own hearts - books! This is a meaty tome to indulge in while curled up in your most comfy reading chair, casting your mind back 500-plus years to an age when such activities were the exclusive province of the aristocratic elite. A technological innovation was about to change all that, and Florence was at the heart of the revolution."

Boswell proprietor Daniel Goldin suggests Early Morning Riser, the latest novel from Katherine Heiny. Daniel says: "When Jane, an elementary school teacher, moves to tiny Boyne City (a real place!), Michigan, she hardly suspects the complications that will ensue when she takes up with Duncan, the older woodworker who moonlights as a locksmith. Let’s just say he has a lot of ex-girlfriends. A lot! But on the guffaw-meter, Early Morning Riser was literally off the charts in the number of times I laughed out loud. If Heiny had stayed in the romantic comedy lane, I would have been perfectly content. But she throws a curveball when Jane gets a happy ending, only not the way she expected, and that turns out to not be the end of the story. Heiny has a rare gift for bringing characters to glorious life, warts and all. Sometimes, in the case of Jane’s mother or her neighbor’s husband Gary, perhaps all warts. I love Jane’s voice and the way she can see the absurdity in the everyday. And I love the way that Heiny plays with all different emotions, not just laughter, to create this story of family and community."

Sanjena Sathian's debut novel, Gold Diggers also gets a Daniel recommendation: "Stuck at his suburban Atlanta high school, Neeraj (Neil) Narayan simply doesn’t have the drive of his older sister Prachi or the other striving families in his community. But then, through his on-again, off-again friend Anita, he learns the true meaning of the adage, ‘when life gives you lemons…’ Why are little bits of jewelry disappearing from the families of Hammond Creek? And how far can Anita and Neil go in the pursuit of ambition, especially when they settle in the Bay Area, paradise on Earth for the tech striver? I love the way Gold Diggers solders imagery onto the story, whether the tale of the Bombayan prospector Neil is researching or Kanye West’s ‘Gold Digger’ wafting through the high school dance. It reminded me that despite the tension (did I mention this is also a caper novel?)  and the likely heartbreak (we all can’t get what we want), this engaging and insightful novel is a comedy, and there will be a wedding at the end."

Happy reading - we'll catch you next week with more recommendations!

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