Bees are buzzing. Wildflowers are blooming. For every reader there is a meadow somewhere waiting for a blanket and a good book. Here are some new and recent releases for the front porch swing or the secret treehouse.
For those looking for unlikely romance and adventure, consider this novel set around the 1898 World’s Fair in Omaha, Nebraska. Only five years after the massively successful Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, the natives are anxious to outdo their Midwestern competitor. For others the vaudeville performers and acrobats, it is a chance to have a worldly audience and make their big break. Ventriloquist Ferret Skerritt decides to take his chances on the midway — and meets the beautiful Cecily, who plays Marie Antoinette. Some of the most endearing writing is in the opening pages, when Schaffert offers a skewed version of Oz.
But this fallen, ruined balloon – it seemed a generosity spirit dropped upon them from heaven. Finally, at least, a worthless, senseless, bit of wonder. Emmaline and Hester listened to the gentle rippling of the silk, sounding like wind on wheat fields.
“Escaped the circus?” Hester wondered. When Hester squinted she could nearly imagine the silk as the skin of a runaway elephant popped with a pin. … Surely, any minute now, they’d be overrun by people from town, the curiosity seekers, who had caught sight of the balloon falling. But rarely did people look up at the sky; their eyes were always cast down — on that stubborn earth. In Nebraska, the sky’s endlessness could be unsettling. ~Pg. 5
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (February 6, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
There is also a very cool Tumblr devoted to the title.
This book is small in size but brimming with personal anecdotes, philosophy, regret and memory. Rosenblatt reminisces on his childhood, in and around 14th Street in Manhattan in the 1950s. He recalls the lives of other writers, of the idiosyncrasies of neighbors and even imagines himself a hard-boiled detective at the tender age of nine. The book is memoir but not autobiography. It is life seen through Rosenblatt’s own rose-colored glasses.
No mystery to the Empire State, except that tall as it is, the building never surprises you. Perhaps that’s because it is old and familiar, the city’s favorite uncle, who just plants himself in the middle of the house. Standing on Thirty-fourth Street, I look up to it as ever. Its feeling of calm comfort is what appealed to King King, I am sure of it. Not the height, though he might have experiences a wave of fellow feeling with the tallest thing around for mile. He might have thought, This building knows how difficult, how demanding, how embarrassing it is to be the gorilla in the room. In that case, it could be assumed that King Kong did not so much scale the Empire State as embrace it. So that might have been his reason. ~Pg. 31
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Ecco (November 5, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
The very cool indie e-press DZANC BOOKS is curating a series of reprints. They’ve found titles — funky, pulpy and classic — and are pulling them together. One is a reprint of Charles Johnson’s collection of stories. The author has won numerous awards throughout the years, including the National Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Academy Award for Literature, and the Humanities Washington Award. This collection of short stories, and other offerings in the reprint series are available here.