Monday, May 22, 2023

Staff Recommendations, Week of May 23, 2023

We've got a couple great new books to recommend this week!

First up, Chris Lee recommends The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor. Chris says: "Brandon Taylor’s novel invites us into the world of Iowa City’s fledgling writers, dancers, and artists as they squabble, scrap, hope, love, and fight their way toward self-knowledge in a country that doesn’t have much more to offer them than, at best, indifference and economic insecurity. Art and sex, full hearts and empty wallets. A perfectly titled novel (each character so late to so many different parties) that deeply understands the roiling emotional landscape of lives of ideas as they’re lived in precarity. Truly impressive."

Next, Madi Hill suggests Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs by Jamie Loftus. Madi says: "Hot dog lovers, unite! Jamie Loftus has crafted the hot dog tour across America you never knew you wanted but can't stop reading. Follow the history of the wiener as Loftus, her boyfriend, a cocker spaniel, and a cat traverse the nation to find the best hot dog shops that the country has to offer, all while teaching the history of each spot along the way. Surprisingly heartfelt and educational, Raw Dog does not shy away from how the sausage gets made (literally), but it’s told from such a passionate and well researched perspective that seeing the process does not stop the hot dog craving this book produces in those who read it. For readers who wished Easy Rider was centered around tube meats, this book is for you. Hot diggity!"

We've also got a couple of paperback picks this week, both from Jason Kennedy. The first one Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon. Of this novel, Jason says: "Bill Bear lives in a future that has gone through several Covids and Ukraine War-like instances. The US is a bit of a disaster, and Bill makes a living as a courier. He mostly moves people and objects and does the odd cleanup and assassinations if called upon. He is a master of living on the fringes, outside the system, a ghost with no real identity. So, when he is in the middle of a contract job and one of his burner phones goes off, it freaks him out. Nobody should have any of the numbers of his phone at this point, but that's when more of them go off, with a very insistent person on the other end about to change Bill's outlook on life and royally piss off Bill’s employer. Dan Chaon provides a road novel, a rundown, and a harsh future world. While I don't want to live there, I loved reading this bleak future of ours."

And Jason also suggests River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millward. Jason says: "Candace Millard delves into the history of the expeditions of Burton and Speke as they try to discover the source of the White Nile. The logistics were mind-boggling, and the amount of supplies and the number of people it took to make the trek seemed like overkill - until it wasn't. And then the food began to run out. The amount of illness and its severity visited upon everyone made me wonder what form of insanity these explorers had to have suffered. The individual personalities and vistas are fascinating. Candace Millard follows the fortunes of these two British fellows along with Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was brought in to handle working with local African groups. Bombay is the real reason this expedition didn't fail spectacularly as the two Europeans worked against each other. Another great historical adventure that opens our eyes to an era that I just don't understand anymore but found amazing."

Like Porky Pig says, that's all folks. See you next week with more suggested reading, and until then, read on.

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