Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Books as personality identifiers

In an article in this week's New York Times (the Fashion & Style section no less!) author Joanne Kaufman addresses the Kindle's affect on literary snobbism. She points out that seeing what other people read is for many a way to compartmentalize an individual. We have all scanned a friend's bookshelf and whether you want to admit it or not, you are impressed to see a dog-eared collection of Jane Austen's novels. Or someone who actually made it through one of Pynchon's doorstop books. With the Kindle, the ability to be surreptitious in your nosiness is a lot harder. Maybe the Kindle will become some kind of class equalizer (once they are free of course) and we will no longer judge a book by its cover?

I have mixed feelings about the Kindle. I touched my first one last week. It wasn't an entirely bad experience. Am I going to buy one? No, they are far too expensive for me. But I appreciate that they can be quite handy and imagine in some settings (especially academic circles) their usefulness is being embraced with arms wide open. Frequent travelers too would also appreciate the ease of use. However, for me, part of the fun of traveling is in visiting other bookstores and picking something up that I missed in my own. There are many arguments in favor of e-readers, but for now I am going to stick to my ink & paper reader.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


We booksellers are lucky enough to get advanced copies of forthcoming titles. Here are some excellent titles from the first half of this year. A few of them aren't published yet, but that will give you time to get caught up on the author's other books!

Last night I finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave. What an amazing book. I'm not sure I even have words to describe how wonderful it is. Before its release the publishers didn't say very much about the book because they wanted readers to discover its content on their own. All I will say is that this is a very good novel about immigration, globalization and refugees. And it is definitely worth buying in hardcover.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This book is a must read for any teenager who is uncertain about leaving home for any reason. If you have a 16-18 year old in your life make sure they read this book. It's great for adults too, but I think it will really resonate with teens in the midst of making big life choices. If I Stay follows 17-year-old Mia for 24 hours after she and her family get in a horrific car accident. This is a fantastic story and it's available now.

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind and it is full of the intrigue and drama that Zafon does best. (June 16th 2009)

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in a planned trilogy by Swedish author Steig Larsson. The series was going to feature at least ten books but Larsson only completed three before dying suddenly of a heart attack. I don't usually read crime fiction, but these books are so compelling and well written I found myself wishing Larsson would return from the grave and write seven more titles. (July 28th)

Border Songs by Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch is my new favorite author. He has two fiction titles under his belt, Border Songs and Highest Tide. Highest Tide is the Mac Reads pick for this year and Mr. Lynch himself will be in town at the end of April. If you haven't read Highest Tide you have plenty of time left to do so. Both of Jim Lynch's books are set in Washington state and feature spectuacular characters. He will be in the store on April 30th from 3-4 pm for a signing before his 7:30 talk at the Nicholson Library at Linfield. (Border Songs pubs June 16th).

- Angela