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Another reason Edinburgh is cool. doubledaybooks: Delicate and anonymous paper sculptures carved from books have been left in libraries and cultural spaces across Edinburgh. Artist still Unknown.
There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are even more reasons to have a library card. Here are just 60:
You can borrow more than just books — movies, magazines, e-books, music, museum and park passes — with your card. Did you know you can even check out seeds, as long as you bring back some seeds from your harvest?
Not sure how to get started? Click here to find out how to get your library card today. Tell a friend or a relative. Get out and go to your library now.
I have ADORED Boris Akunin for years. I mean, at least 10 years; maybe more. I was heart-broken when American publishers stopped “importing” him. Last summer, I went to London and stopped in at Daunt Books in Chelsea. I bought every Akunin / Fandorin book they had. When I explained to the wonderful staff that I couldn’t get them in America they were stunned. i wish 3000 miles did not separate me and that lovely shop.
Hopefully this profile in The New Yorker will help bring Akunin, and Fandorin, back to America.
July 27, 2012
Boris Akunin: Russia’s Dissident Detective Novelist
Posted by Sally McGrane
Grigory Chkhartishvili has his best ideas in the morning. When he first wakes up, the fifty-six-year-old writer—who, under the pseudonym Boris Akunin, is one of Russia’s most widely read contemporary authors—might think of a new predicament in which to ensnare his popular hero, Erast Fandorin, the dashing nineteenth-century detective who can see into people’s souls and always wins at games of chance. …
Looks like Penguin has got himself into a bit of bother…
Check out more adventures at Penguin English Library.
n. ignorance; lack of knowledge
n. the study of ignorance
In 1927, Hungarian physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi isolated a substance in lemons and oranges that seemed to prevent scurvy.
He couldn’t identify it chemically, so he called it “ignose,” meaning “I do not know.”
When the editors of the Biochemical Journal asked for a different name, Szent-Györgyi suggested “godnose.” Finally they settled on “hexuronic acid.”
It turned out to be vitamin C.
Not as such…
I generally pick such a disparate books that its rare that they (or I) want to read the same things. I have yet to find a group of people to match my bizarre tastes. I love 19th century classics (Wilkie Collins, Charlotte Bronte, Poe) and Victorian mysteries (and books written like them, i.e. Michael Cox, Susan Hill).
My neighborhood is really cool and there is a book club. I suppose I’m an unofficial member. I’ve only been to one meeting, which was really a big dinner with lots of wine and chatting. They’ve just announced their list for the next 6 months and I may join them a couple of times. They really are a fun group!
I am surely no expert. I “accidentally” fell into book blogging. I’ve learned a great deal by absorption.
At this point, I think my main question is how to get more readers. How do I attract more engaged readers? Readers who look for new posts, who leave comments and ask questions?
Although I certainly haven’t reached my writing goals, by any means, I have done some freelance writing. For a time, I was actually making a good bit of money doing it too. There were even a few months that it covered the rent, free and clear. But as the economy tanked, local outlets (the ones I wrote for) either went away or closed ranks. Editors and staff began to do more of their own writing. Magazines got thinner. ”Advertorials” made up the bulk of the content. It still hasn’t really turned around, at least here. So I threw myself into finishing my Masters thesis. But you can read some of my freelance work here. I’m particularly proud of the piece on the libraries, and the one on Poe, of course.
And in answer to the other question posted, no, I don’t monetize my blog.
My writing goals include: having my reviews picked up by a national outlet and finish writing a novel.
I can do that…
Today’s topic is about networking “in the real world”, bringing those online relationships to another level.
I admit, this is something I’ve been working on, but I’m no expert. Still, I will share an examples of how books and book reviewing are a part of my “real” life.
Living in Savannah, we are lucky enough to have a fantastic library system.
Live Oak Public Libraries does wonderful things for the area and I support them as much as I can. When I got married, I asked guests to bring gently used books that I later donated to the library.
I don’t have lots of money to donate but I help in other ways. Every couple of months I donate books that I have read for review to them. They often add them to their catalog; and the ones that don’t make it into their Book Sale, which supports their costs as well. I also wrote an article for Connect Savannah about their annual gala. I donated the article to the paper and asked the paper to in turn donate my writer’s fee to the library. The story was picked up by Geek the Library campaign!
That was one of my favorite “networking”moments!
I’ve got two books for giveaway for this year’s Armchair BEA. I should mention I have not read either; I’m merely hosting a giveaway.
In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster learned how to come to terms with her body. In My Fair Lazy, she expanded her mind. Now the New York Timesbestselling author gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age.
Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable—and probably humiliating—life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood.
ISBN 9780451233172 | 368 pages | 01 May 2012 | NAL | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 – AND UP
Many thanks to Melissa at Penguin for this title.
Also up for grabs is a new book, due out TODAY, called Little Night by Luanne Rice.
The description from the publisher:
LITTLE NIGHT has elements of classic Luanne Rice—the complex family dynamics, the atmospheric sense of place (specifically, her incredible descriptions of New York’s wildlife and natural areas). But it is also extremely suspenseful as we learn the truth of what Grit has endured the past twenty years. Because Grit’s mother Anne is absent for most of the book, she has a ghostlike, haunting presence, affecting Grit and Clare as deeply as if she were present. Above all, LITTLE NIGHT is a riveting story about women and the primal, tangled family ties that bind them together.
ISBN 9780670023561 | 336 pages | 05 Jun 2012 | Pamela Dorman Books | 5.98 x 9.01in | 18 – AND UP
Many thanks to Lindsay for the giveaway copy!
So… here’s how it works! There will be two winners, one for each book. Winning is really easy.
- In the comments section below, leave your first name and your email in the following format email (at) domain (dot) com.
- You can earn extra entries (one for each) by:
1) posting a link to this giveaway on your blog/site (post the link below so I can find it)
2) linking to it on Twitter (please include my handle @cineastesview and #armchairbea)
- Contest closes at 11:59pm EST June 7 (Thursday!) so get those entries in. Winners will be notified by email. Books will be sent directly from the publisher to a US mailing address only. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER!
Bonnie Regan, you’ve won JENERATION X.
Mary Ward, you’ve won LITTLE NIGHT.
LADIES, I will be in touch soon.
Thank you to everyone who entered. Happy Armchair BEA!
Writing once again from Virtual Booth #221b… This will be my second Armchair BEA.
◊ Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
I am a director of a nonprofit performing arts venue in the South. I hold a Bachelor’s in English from St. Anselm College and I just earned my Masters of Arts in Cinema Studies from Savannah College of Art and Design.
I began writing book reviews about two and a half years ago, but I’d been writing film reviews ever since I can remember. I was always excited by films and the way they tell stories.
◊ Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
Well, here’s a couple of things anyway… I’m also a photographer and have been since I was a child. I’m obsessed with showing other people what it is I see.
I’m fairly certain I was born in the wrong decade. I should have been a flapper and I love to wear cloche hats. I’m also a jazz fiend.
I like to post found photos.
I love to garden and wish I lived in a field stone house in the English countryside so I could have a proper garden and write a novel using an antique typewriter.
◊ Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
I have a couple that I am particularly proud of.
◊ If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
Well, let me say that no, it would not be Hannibal Lecter.
There are a few but I can say at the top of my list would be Agatha Christie. Her life was so fascinating and full of adventure. I read her autobiography and it was like listening to your completely awesome grandmother tell wonderful stories about growing up. I know we’d still be sitting at the table long after dessert.
◊ What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
I’ve finally been to England and I loved it as much as I’d hoped I would. There are still so many places there that I need to visit (made it to Sherlock’s house though!).
Given the chance, I’d like to go to the Lakes District where Wordsworth wrote Tintern Abbey and see the peaks in Dartmoor.
In anticipation of the release of the latest edition of the Penguin English Library, the folks on twitter asked us readers what we’d like to ask the editor of the series. I sent in a number of queries, some of which he answered! You can watch the video here:
Thanks to the folks at Penguin, I am giving away a hardcover copy of MIDNIGHT IN PEKING by Paul French. It’s the best historical true crime I’ve read since The Devil in the White City. (My full review is here)
To enter, please:
1. Leave a comment, with link to a Facebook or Twitter post in which you linked to this giveaway
2. Submit between now and Monday, April 23, 2012 at 4p.m. EST,
2.2 Due to technical difficulties on my part, I’ve extended this giveaway until Monday, April 30, 2012 at 4 p.m. EST.
3. In the comment, include your email in the following format (to reduce spam): name (at) domain (dot) com.
Winners will be chosen via random.org from among the valid entries. US mailing addresses only, please.
This novel is a balanced mixture of psychological thriller and police procedural, primarily told from the point of view of Leo Curtice, a defense lawyer. He is assigned the case of Daniel Blake, a twelve-year-old accused of killing his eleven-year-old classmate. Curtice seems clear that his job is to protect the boy as his fate is decided by those who are distant, older and caught up in the emotions of the situation. But when threatening letters begin arriving, Curtice must decide if he can defend the child and keep his own family safe.
Lelic manages to walk a fine line in telling this story. The horrors of the crime are clear but not gory. The accused is sympathetic but not excused. Where to place blame is not clear. Curtice himself is a parent who struggles with his duty to his job with his duty to protect his wife and daughter. In many ways, it reads like a novelized version of an episode of Law & Order: UK. Lelic attempts to tell the story with all aspects in mind.
The narrative moves quickly from investigation to legal procedure, interspersed with internal thoughts. Lelic does so with deep descriptions.
The kitchen is dark and she leaves it dark until she gathers the will to boil an egg. The shell is fiddly, though, and she scalds her fingers and in the end she cannot be bothered with it. She slides the plate away, toast and egg cup and all, and pull her mug of tea and cigarettes nearer. Her phone, too. She checks the screen, just in case she has missed a call, even though the house is silent and the phone has barely left her grip. Page 2.
The track curved and the train tipped and the ground beneath them seemed to fall away. Out of one window reared a ragged cliff face; in the other, the bucking seas. A wave lunged and clawed the track, then slid back into the writhing mass. the water, in the winter sun, sparkled like a lunatic’s grin. It seemed joyous, heedless, unconstrained in its dementia. It launched itself again and this time lashed the carriage but the train seemed to barely judder. It sped on – lungs full, head down – and dived for the approaching tunnel. Page 151.
This novel brings to the fore questions about identity, nature vs nurture, and responsibility, all while telling a fast-paced story.
Many thanks to Elaine at Penguin for the review copy.
ISBN 9780143120919 | 320 pages | 28 Feb 2012 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 – AND UP
I am quite aware that this is a series, and a popular one at that, but this is the first Maisie Dobbs novel I have read. Spunky and precocious, Dobbs defies convention by owning her own business and having skipped a few rungs on the social class ladder. Maisie grew up on the “other” side of the river but is now the proprietress of a detective agency. With smart, capable people in her employ, she takes on cases for hire. Set in early 1930s London, England is dealing with post-war fatigue and an overwhelming, industrialized future coming too fast.
This particular case involves a young man named Eddie who turns up dead. Maisie is approached by people from her past to find out what happened to him. In her investigation she meets strict factory men, low-class drunkards, gentle widows, thugs and coppers. Maisie’s peculiar situation allows her to float between the upper crust and downtrodden and gives the reader a sense of the vast divide between them. And the reader gets a sense that she doesn’t quite fit in either place.
This is a pleasurable book, something to read for amusement. Winspear’s description and characterization is strong, but the plot felt contrived. In that way, it is like a less mature Agatha Christie. One thing Winspear does exceedingly well is give context. The victim is a horse whisperer in an age when carriages are being replaced by cars. The city is moving from the organic to the mechanized and the transition is anything but smooth. This theme is very well-explored throughout the novel.
The Bookhams paper factory was located close to the Albert Embankment in Lambeth, between Salamanca Street and Glasshouse Lane. Not for the first time in recent weeks, the MG had failed to start, which meant that Maisie risked being late. Pg. 45
Number 1 Shelley Street, the address given for Evelyn Butterworth, proved to be a narrow, modest, end-of-terrace house divided into flats, not far from King’s Cross station. Though not in a particularly good area, someone had tried to make a garden, but soot from the trains rendered the district grey and tired and even the sunshine failed to cheer the street. Looking up at the house, Maisie noticed that the curtains on the third floor were quite bright. Pg. 154-5.
Dobbs, follows various leads across London, while trying to maintain relationships further complicated by her independent spirit. The case itself is not one the reader will try to solve, really. Instead, the reader is just along for the ride – be it by horse drawn buggy or motorized convertible.
Many thanks to the folks at HarperCollins for the review copy.
The fine folks at HarperCollins are hosting Twitter chats each week all month to celebrate the series. The hashtag is #Maisie and the next one will be on Friday, 3/23 at 4 pm est and then again on Friday, 3/30 at 3 pm. You can find more info on Jackie’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/
On Sale: 3/27/2012
Trimsize: 6 x 9
Ages: 18 and Up
This was one of those books that just appeared, unsolicited, in my mailbox. While I always give those surprise titles a glance, I usually don’t have time to read and review them in addition to the ones I’ve already committed to. Add to that my suspicion of modern novels and it’s strange that I even ended up reading it.
I suppose I mention this only because I’m still reeling from how I was sucked into it.
The story revolves around a brilliant con-woman and her marks, but it is more than cat-and-mouse game. Multiple narratives twist together to form a story of identity and suspense. Various points-of-view overlap and slowly a clear picture comes into focus. Each narrator has its own voice, yet the author’s style remains clear. And although each narrator is unreliable in its own way, the reader can begin to piece together the truth. Of course, there are still come unanswered philosophical questions for the reader to answer for themselves.
The writing is fresh without being forced. Here are a couple of excerpts:
With a peculiar copper taste in his mouth, he took the elevator back down and walked back through the lobby. He felt like a figure in an illustration manual. Slumping nearly in tears on a bench in front of the building, he again dialed Cas, who picked up on the first ring.
In the dark, the house with its tall peaked roof resembles a witch’s hat. The windows were covered with frilly sheers and the driveway was a humped pour of macadam that glistened in the streetlight like a pair of new shoes. To the letter, it was the kind of tidy working-class home that she had staked her entire life avoiding.
This book is solidly literary and yet delightfully sensational. Gottlieb takes a simple idea and explores it from multiple angles, bringing life to various points of view and taking the reader on a psychological adventure.
Imprint: William Morrow
On Sale: 1/17/2012
Trimsize: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
$24.99; Ages: 18 and Up
After numerous years as a loyal customer I am considering abandoning you altogether. Savannah has a couple of bookstores that I try to frequent as often as possible; however there are times when their inventory does not have a title I am looking for, or they have closed by the time I get out from work. In those cases, I have normally found helpful staff, a friendly atmosphere and a good selection of books at the local Barnes and Noble.
On my visit on Monday evening, none of these things were true.
Not only had the layout been changed, it had been altered to accommodate GAMES and TOYS. Numerous shelves had been removed to make way for displays of stuffed animals and board games. You are a bookstore, not a toy store. A few mental diversions and gift items are fine, but not at the expense of your main product.
Taken aback but not yet discouraged I began to browse the Fiction and Literature section as I often do. And generally, while browsing, I am put in mind of a book I meant to look for. Sometimes these are a little bit obscure, but not always. This night, NOT A SINGLE BOOK I searched for was available. Here is the list:
Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (or anything by Le Fanu)
Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (or anything by her)
The Observations by Jane Harris
ANYTHING by James M Cain
ANYTHING by Patricia Highsmith
Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London by Susan Tyler Hitchcock
ANYTHING by Boris Akunin
Tourquai: A Novel by Tim Davys
ANYTHING by Geoff Ryman
I think you can agree that not all of these titles are unusual. Really, no James M Cain? None? Or Highsmith? Seriously?
Additionally, I can generally enjoy or tune-out the music being played throughout the store. The selection this night gave me a headache. Some sort of angsty, distopia, atonal noise was blaring from every corner. In no row could I concentrate on the books before me. I know a bookstore is not a library — nor should it be — but neither is it an underground club that simultaneously engulfs its visitors in hipster “music” and hocks reading tablet devices.
If Barnes & Noble (on a corporate level) wishes to survive in the electronic world, it needs to offer something that is becoming a commodity — the pure, simple pleasure of discovering writers in a comfortable setting.
Meaghan Walsh Gerard
The B&N in question is located at:
7804 Abercorn Ext. 72
Savannah, GA 31406
I visited on Monday evening, February 20th, 2012.
I am still reeling from this book. Surprising at every turn — and I’m not easily surprised. Nor am I easily impressed, particularly when it comes to books. The writing is fabulous – both in style and in storytelling.
The first-person narrator, Harriet Baxter, is an older women now, in 1933. She has decided to set down certain aspects of her life 50 years ago in 1888 and 1889 Glasgow. What begins as a much-needed change of scenery, and a bit of adventure by visiting the International Exhibition, becomes a life-changing experience — for everyone.
Quite by chance, she befriends a struggling but up-and-coming painter on the Glasgow scene. Ned Gillespie is a devoted family man. He adores his wife and their two daughters. They’ve managed to carve out a relatively happy life. Harriet, herself with no family other than a stepfather she rarely sees, spends more and more time with the Gillespie family, determined to help in any way she can. She becomes a self-appointed patron of their art as well as their struggles.
Although there is a great deal more to say about the story, I will refrain. Much of the beauty of this novel is how it unfolds and revealing too much here would deprive any reader of that enjoyment.
Harris’ characterizations are wonderful and delightfully Victorian. She finds a strong voice with Harriet, both in her memories and in her contemporary musings. She defies the code of her time. Here are two excerpts from early in the book.
This was such an exhausting conversation, hostile and full of dead ends. I had forgotten that such was the only type of discussion in which my stepfather engaged; his interlocutors were always his adversaries; indeed he did not feel that he was engaged in real dialogue unless one participant ended by triumphing over the other. I will admit to feeling frustrated. We had not seen each other for many years; it seemed hard to believe that we were embroiled in such a pointless, combative exchange about nothing more meaningful than gadgets.
‘No, sir,’ I said, shortly. ‘ I know of no such device.’
His lip curled, and he gazed at me, askance: if I were a representative of the modern world, then it would appear that I was distinctly below par in his estimation. Immediately I was filled with regret and anxiety: I had let him down! As a child, I had learned all about kaleidoscopes, in the hope of pleasing him. If only I was better informed, now, about carpet sweepers.
‘Pteridomania!’ exclaimed Peden. ‘ That dreaded disease.’ He angled his body away from me, in order to address me, sideways, over his shoulder. ‘It seems that when you ladies are weary of novels and gossip and crochet, you find much entertainment in ferns. No doubt you preside over a fern collection, Miss Baxter?’
‘Sadly, no!’ I replied. ‘What with all my novels and gossip and crochet, there’s no time left for ferns.’
The astute reader will, of course, realise that I was employing irony; by Mr Peden gave a self-satisfied nod – as though I had proven his point.
Like Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, at about the halfway point, the story takes an unexpected turn. It’s a brilliant misdirection and meant that I spent each free moment intent on reading just a few more pages. I barreled though to the end, desperate to know what will happen. Since finishing it, I’ve been suffering from acute withdrawal, and I continue to ruminate on it. Harris’ writing is at once fresh and vintage. The epistolary style harkens to the great Victorian novels Harriet herself eschews. I truly can’t wait for her next effort.
The author’s website: http://www.janeharris.com/
Many thanks to Erica at HarperPerennial for the review copy.
Imprint: Harper Perennial
On Sale: 1/31/2012
Format: Trade PB
Trimsize: 5 5/16 x 8
Ages: 18 and Up
If HG Wells, Dave Barry and Jasper Fforde had a child, it would be Sam Leith. Refreshingly original and smart, this novel follows multiple points of view ranging from a lovesick youth, a thug with no ability to judge consequences, a mastermind with a cutting sense of humor and an agent with a troubled past.
It begins with the unlikely incident of a hurricane assembling an airplane out of scrap metal. This tips off the secret agency, the Department of the Extremely Improbable, that something is afoot. It seems a coincidence engine, a machine that bends the psychics of chance and will, is on the move and a number of forces want to capture it. The hunt is on, though no one quite knows what they are looking for. It’s an adventure for the well-drawn characters as well as the reader.
Part steam-punk, part road trip, part comedy of errors, The Coincidence Engine is entirely readable. The language is rich and swirling and, thankfully, very British. Too often American publications include a stripping of dialectic idioms. I love how eccentric the writing is allowed to be.
Here’s an example:
“Herbert Owse’s Antiquarian Omnium Gatherum stood on Burleigh Street, and was manned by a rubicund numismatist with a wild beard and a liking for checking shirts and moleskin waistcoats. His socks, though this is of scant relevance here, were held up with suspenders. His name was not Herbert Owse.”
Leith finds an admirable balance between silliness and poignancy in his debut novel. Witty, urbane and comic, I look forward to reading Sam Leith in the future.
Many thanks to the folks at Candlewick Press for the review copy.
ISBN-10 / ISBN-13: 0763656941 / 9780763656942
on sale date: 08/2011
type/format: Hard Cover
# of pages/size: 304 / 5 1/8″ x 7 5/8″
|du Maurier on the stairs of her beloved home, Menabilly|
|Just one of the gorgeous illustrations by Ian Schoenherr|
|One of my MANY photos from the Chelsea Physic Garden|
Last year, the only challenge I entered myself in was a goal of 50 books, tracked by Goodreads. I hit my goal, but this year I wanted to mix things up a little and give some props to other book bloggers. I found a great list of options at Novel Challenges. It’s searchable by keyword and by year.
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge 2012
This challenge breaks down mysteries into sub-genres and the readers are encouraged to choose titles from the various types. Choose from The Whodunit, Locked Room Mystery, Cozy, Hard-Boiled/Noir, The Inverted Detective Story, The Historical Whodunnit, The Police Procedural, The Professional Thriller, The Spy Novel, Caper Stories, The Psychological Suspense, Spoofs and Parodies. And this one has a prize!
Victorian Challenge 2012
So this might not be much of a challenge since I read a great deal of Victorian literature already, but it will help me focus on some authors and works I have yet to delve into. This one works more like a book club, setting authors in advance. January: The Bronte Sisters, February: Charles Dickens, March: Robert Louis Stevenson, April: Emily Dickinson, May: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, June: George Eliot, July: Oscar Wilde, August: Anthony Trollope, September: Elizabeth Gaskell, October: Mark Twain, November: Lewis Carroll, December: Louisa May Alcott.
Tea & Books Reading Challenge
From the site: This challenge was inspired by C.S. Lewis’ famous words, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” You better settle in with a large cup of tea, because in this challenge you will only get to read books with more than 700 pages.
I’ve only committed to two, making me a “Chamomile Lover.”
What will you read this year?
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1605980862
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1439198861
Christmas hustle and bustle got you harried? Want to win something? For yourself? You don’t have to tell… just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, out in paperback this December 27. Easier than reciting a magic spell!
Here’s a bit about the book:
- Set in real, storied and historic places on the campus of Oxford University, England.
- It debuted at # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and was published in 34 countries.
- Warner Brothers has acquired screen rights to A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and its sequels.
- A second installment in the All Souls Trilogy, Shadow of Night, is due out in summer 2012.
- Read about the author and her works here: http://deborahharkness.com/discovery-of-witches/
THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER. CONGRATULATIONS TO JENNIFER.
Here’s a bit about the giveaway:
- To enter, leave a comment on this post with A) Your First Name & B) Your Email in the following format [email (at) domain (dot) com.
- Winner will be chosen via random.org. Entries must be posted on December 30, no later than 5:00pm EST.
- Prize is one paperback copy of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.
- Prize will be mailed directly to the winner from the publisher.
Some stories garner a chuckle. Some make you feel like you’ve been stabbed in the heart. Others simply remind you to stop and smell the roses. None are overly sentimental; rather these make up a sort of Poor Richard’s Almanack for modern life.
But don’t just take my (or even their) word for it. Let these “excerpts” speak for themselves.
Format: Trade Paperback, 352 pages
On Sale: August 16, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59051-415-3 (1-59051-415-7)
|One of my prized finds.|
Preston takes actual pieces of vintage ephemera and constructs a story about a young girl who’s growing up during the fabulous Roaring 20s. Frankie Pratt lands a scholarship at Vassar, rubs elbows with wealthy socialites, gets a broken heart, dances the Charleston, and lives it up in Art Deco Manhattan and expatriate Paris.
Preston’s narrator is sweet, naive but not useless. She is reminiscent of Cassandra from Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. She chooses experience over caution, but she’s not spoiled or reckless. Simply a smart girl who wants to get the most out of life. And her scrapbook makes her even more endearing to the reader.
Preston’s collection is even more impressive when you learn that it’s all real. She created an actual scrapbook of actual items that she found. Preston recalls, “In all I collected over 600 pieces of original 1920′s ephemera. Some I found in my own stash of vintage paper, the rest I tracked down and bought from dozens of antique stores and hundreds of eBay sellers.” And she did a beautiful job.
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt reads, in parts, a bit like a young adult book but not enough to be only read as such. It’s completely enjoyable for any age. The items found on the pages enlighten the reader about a past era. Frankie Pratt is a lively voice from the past.
Many thanks to Heather at HarperCollins for the review copy.
Trimsize: 6 x 9
Pages: 240; $25.99
Somewhat jaded, Rumpole has seen it all at this point. He is little fazed by the cluelessness of dregs of society or the incredible antics of the Ministers of Parliament. His nonchalant narrative makes the stories all the more entertaining for a lay audience. One needn’t be a student of the law to get caught up in the tales of the court anymore than you need to have a country house to want to go Bunburying. I will admit, however, that my maniacal watching of Law & Order: UK hasn’t hurt any with some of the vocabulary.
Unlike Bertie Wooster, Rumpole is actually trying to better his world, one client at a time. He doesn’t think of himself first, or rely on a Jeeves to get him out of a scrape. Rumpole takes on injustice when everything stacked against him. He thrives on it. He’s a bit like Wile E. Coyote, except his traps actually work. While other barristers and solicitors are content with a deposition, Rumpole finds the one tiny detail that unravels an entire case.
Reading Rumpole is a sheer delight. The stories are lithe and funny. Mortimer has drawn imperfect, realistic characters for us to watch from the gallery. Or better yet, beside him at a pub, sharing a pint and stories of “that time when…”.
A great many thanks to Meghan at Viking for the review copy.
ISBN 9780670023066 | 528 pages | 10 Nov 2011 | Viking Adult | 5.98 x 9.01in | 18 – AND UP
|From O. Henry’s Full House (1952)|
Size 6 x 9
December 5, 2011
|The Green Dragon Tavern, the cradle of the Boston Tea Party|
America Walks into a Bar
A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops
Hardback, 336 pages
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Another reason Edinburgh is cool. doubledaybooks: Delicate and anonymous paper sculptures carved from books have been left in libraries and cultural spaces across Edinburgh. Artist still Unknown.
Can’t get enough of ghoulish stories? Neither can I! Which means I have even more creepy titles to suggest for Halloween — and any chilly, fall night best spent by the fire.
How about something easy to get into and tough to put down? Try MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs. It’s a very fun read and interspersed with strange photographs.
Can’t get enough of salacious mysteries? Try THE CRADLE IN THE GRAVE by Sophie Hannah. Frighteningly realistic police procedural.
A strange disappearance and a race to find the truth are the object of the entirely-true, bone-chilling tale of THE LOST CYCLIST by David Herlihy.
Or try something in the realm of the impossible made entirely plausible in a collection of short stories by Ben Loory. STORIES FOR THE NIGHTTIME AND SOME FOR THE DAY is unlike anything else.
Unperturbed, Poirot gave her a card.
“Give that to your mistress. I think she will see me.”
It was one of his more ostentatious cards. The words “Private Detective” were printed in one corner. He had had them specially engraved for the purpose of obtaining interviews with the so-called fair sex. Nearly every woman, whether conscious of innocence or not, was anxious to have a look at a private detective and find out what he wanted.
Left ignominiously on the mat, Poirot studied the doorknocker with intense disgust at its unpolished condition.
“Ah! for Brasso and a rag,” he murmured to himself.
|Favored suspect Franz Muller|
Many thanks to Kate at Overlook Press for the review copy.
Murder in the First-Class Carriage
By Kate Colquhoun
ISBN 13: 978-1-59020-675-1
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Can you identify any of the other ne-er-do-wells pictured?
October is my favorite month. It always has been, even when I lived in different parts of the country. Of course, it’s no coincidence that October means Halloween for me. Scary stories, chocolate, costumes – what’s not to love! So, as the days grow shorter and cooler, here are some suggestions for the change in weather. I’ll read a creepy story any time of the year, but these titles make you want to curl up with a strange, mysterious or frightening book.
Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
Edited by Kelly Link & Gavin Grant
Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography
By Errol Morris
|Reproduction of the photo|
ALSO, watch for my upcoming review of MURDER ON THE FIRST-CLASS CARRIAGE: THE FIRST VICTORIAN RAILWAY KILLING by Kate Colquhoun. It goes live 10/21.
|The mysterious benefactor of “A Secret Gift”|
|Publicity postcard for Rules of Civility|
|Fashion photo by Hoyningen-Heune, 1938|
And we have a winner! Terry’s comment was chosen on random.org.
Of Sherlock, Terry said: “As to why I love Mr. Holmes, he’s the original, brilliant misanthrope. Before there was Gregory House, almost before there was even Allan Quatermain, there was Sherlock Holmes.”
Thanks to everyone who entered and to the folks at Penguin Classics for providing the prize!
Keep sleuthing everyone!
|At Sherlock’s house.|
I did not receive a review copy of this book.
View the author’s site here: http://www.ransomriggs.com/
Book Dimensions:5 3/16 x 8 3/16
Page Count: 352
Release Date: June 7, 2011
This book draws some of its characters from strange portraits. Reproductions of the photos are sprinkled throughout the book. I too have a small collection of odd pictures, found at fairs, yard sales and museums. Here I’ve couple the book with one of my favorites of a school teacher, his wife, and a rabbit in a top hat.
My review of the book will be posted soon.
|The original BBC building, Regents Street, London.|
|Trafalgar Square, London, 1920.|
|An abandoned home in Provence / http://abandonedplaces.livejournal.com/2118536.html|
|Author Loory, as enigmatic as his stories.|
|Author, screenwriter and host Rod Serling.|
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Sigh… *want* wwnorton: Look at these beautiful new P. G. Wodehouse paperbacks from Norton. Just look at them!
|Novelist Bram Stoker|
|Murnau’s Count Orlok in Nosferatu|
|A still image from “Everything is Illuminated”|
|Trochenbroders on the main street|
|What used to be the main street of Trochenbrod today|
US only, please. [THIS CONTEST IS NOW OVER.]
Watch the fun, animated book trailer here:
I’m blogging from my home in a Historic District near Savannah, GA. This is my first Armchair BEA, and I’m hoping to “meet” some great bloggers, authors and publicists!
|The home in San Marino that Rockefeller claimed to live in.|
Yet despite advances in modern science, there is a psychological skepticism that lingers in the American psyche. Willrich thoroughly and perceptively pieces together a history that drew class and ethnic lines, despite the disease’s inability to recognize such superficial differences. It is far more than a book about a virus. It provides perspective about where we have come from — and possibly where we are headed.
ISBN 9781594202865 | 400 pages | 31 Mar 2011 | The Penguin Press | 6.14 x 9.25in | 18 – AND UP
Thanks to the folks at Penguin Press for the review copy.
Hear Michael Willrich on NPR.
|Sultan Abdulhamid II|
|Parcel sheet, sent from Germany to Stamboul|
|Kruger and Neeson on set|
|Click to make larger|
|A sophisticated underground system|
|A famous Metro sign|
It has been just about a year now that I have been doing book reviews — and I’m having a blast. I’d like to thank everyone who takes the time to read my reviews. But mostly I’d like to thank those that read books, those who write the words that inspire us, those that work tirelessly to see the book on a shelf.
And thank you to Penguin for being very supportive to a rookie reviewer. Here’s to another year!
Pulling the pieces together is a determined auction house associate. When the ballerina donates her distinctive jewelry collection to benefit the local ballet, they begin to research the history of the unusual jewels. Of especial interest is the set of amber pieces — amber with insects trapped inside. While the young, determined auctioneer seeks clues to the maker and owners of the suite, Nina Revskaya retracts further within herself and hides from the painful past.
Thanks to Mark at Harper Perennial for the Advanced Reader Edition.
ISBN: 9780061962165; ISBN10: 0061962163; Imprint: Harper; On Sale: 9/7/2010; Format: Hardcover; Trimsize: 6 1/8 x 9; Pages: 480; $25.99; Ages: 18 and Up
|The author, Rachel Shukert|
Follow Rachel Shukert (twitter.com/rachelshukert or visit her site.
ISBN: 9780061782350; ISBN10: 0061782351; Imprint: Harper Perennial ; On Sale: 7/27/2010; Format: Trade PB; Trimsize: 5 5/16 x 8; Pages: 336; $13.99; Ages: 18 and Up
Other People’s Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You’ll Be Glad You Didn’t Receive
Hardcover, 192 pages
May 11, 2010
Originally pronounced something rhyming with “Pick a yoon,” the prevalence of this word in the titles of so many newspapers seems to have created a new pronunciation something along the lines of “Pick Cane.”
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”