Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Something wicked this way comes...
Subject lines are mostly mundane things. Time, place, general idea, etc. I prefer to use them a little more loosely. Most often, I use subject headings for e-mail and, now, the blog that have little to nothing to do with the actual post. Hope that's okay.
In this case, however, Micawber's-land has been hit with a little something wicked in terms of staff sickess so I'm a bit behind in getting this post done. Once we're back at full-strength and time isn't so limited I'll be back in the habit of posting 2-3 times per week.
This coming Saturday, 2/7/09 we have a very special event starting at 2 p.m. Our very own Dara Dokas will be reading from her newly published children's book, "Muriel's Red Sweater". This is her second published work and the first for anyone associated this directly with Micawber's. She will read, we'll have cake and she'll be happy to sign copies for you. Dara has really given the children's section a boost since she started last spring and we couldn't be happier for her. So join us for the fun.
I have a soft spot in my heart for fiction. It's my duty in life to help people find novels that could otherwise get lost in the massive tsunami of novels. It is especially hard right now for publishers, novelists and booksellers to sell hardcover fiction for reasons that are varied: cost, massive number of them available and lack of publicity to name a few. So here are four new ones that I think deserve some attention...
"The Vagrants" by Yiyun Li. I was captivated by this young woman's book of stories a few years back, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers." This novel is China during the Cultural Revolution and Li has a way of making it seem both smaller and larger than it was. A quote from the back of the book states that Ezra Pound once said, "Literature is news that stays news." Perfect for this title. $25 Random House
"In Other Rooms, Other Wonders" by Daniyal Mueenuddin. This man was raised in Pakistan and Wisconsin which is a combination I cannot wrap my brain around. The stories within this book contain such a myriad of types of people and places that is almost impossible to believe that one human conjured them all. Lots of indie booksellers are touting this as one of their early 2009 favorites. I would love to see it get similar acclaim to "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." $23.95 W.W Norton
"Cutting For Stone" by Abraham Verghese. He is Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. I suppose that fact could be either intimidating or intriguing. Be that what it may be. This book is a 534 page-ripper set in Africa and America. Filled with patients and doctors. About both healing others and trying to heal yourself. Ultra-large novels often get lumped into groups as either pretentious or poorly-edited--this is neither. $26.95 Random House
"The Accordionist's Son" by Bernardo Atxaga. I have always loved the Basque region of Spain since I spent some time there when I was seventeen. It's like Texas on steroids and with a more beautiful language and lifestyle. Atxaga has wrapped all of that into a great story. This is published by our friends at Graywolf and--as always--they and the author deliver outstandingly. $25 Graywolf Press
I should also mention that each of these books have wonderful packing and could be seen as much as art objects as simple books. The Mueenuddin, as pictured above, is especially astounding and even moreso on the book that on a flat screen.
Finally, in fairness, I should attribute all subject lines. Today's, of course, comes from Ray Bradbury's fantastic work with the same name.