by Alison Bechdel
This beautiful memoir blends smart literary analysis with the author’s own struggle to find an identity that is free of her father’s. Part coming of age story, part coming out, this tragicomic has a great style and clear voice. While Bechdel can be slightly polemical at times, she balances head and heart well. This is one of my all time favorites.
by Gwanaelle Aubry
The life of a young woman’s father, both a distinguished lawyer and a man suffering the horrifying effects of bipolar disorder, is beautifully rendered in this novel. She weaves together the words of her father’s unfinished novel and her own in this touching story of a daughter’s desire to understand her father’s life and the devastating relationship they shared. Sad yet uplifting, this book opened my eyes to the lives of fathers we often ignore.
Sorry. I just felt like shouting.
Tamar Adler manages to craft a beautiful manifesto for cooking simply and conscientiously, while avoiding sounding sanctimonious in her prescriptions. She focuses on cooking frugally and well. Her reverence for M.F.K. Fisher comes through in her writing style and results in a book peppered with not-quite-recipes and dreamy prose, a substantial offering that certainly holds its own with the likes of How To Cook a Wolf
I’m obsessed with this book and I can’t quite figure out why. This book is not a piece of great literature and despite being Marie Calloway’s first novel, I have serious doubts about this book actually being a work of fiction. maybe that’s the draw, the mysterious thing about this book that has me captivated. Without a doubt it’s one of the most explicit and graphic books I have ever read, and not in a pleasing way. I can’t say if this is her life story or if she fabricated the entire thing. I can’t tell you how Marie Calloway got this work published and I can’t tell you this is an amazing book that everyone should read. But I feel compelled to say that this is an incredibly fascinating piece of writing, and that I’m sure there is a reader out there who will glance at it and feel the same draw I did. Maybe they’ll be able to explain it to me because I just can’t figure it out.
Familiar - J. Robert Lennon
This book terrorized me.
We name our bag-check clothespins and this is the newest bunch. In case you were wondering, I named Sungglepup.
“In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.” ―Thomas Mann
This week, it’s all about real talk.
Rape New York - Jana Leo
This book is about rape and it is about New York. It is NOT a memoir of victimhood. Instead, the author has created a book in which she explains how the moment a stranger entered her Harlem apartment and raped her became a bizarre avenue of academic discovery. In turns theoretical (expect ruminations on “private versus public” and “the domestic sphere”), muckraking (expect shocking revelations about how developers intentionally allow crime to flourish in SPECIFIC BUILDINGS in Harlem) and bizarro-world (she runs into her rapist several times after the fact — that is, in the stairwell of HER OWN APARTMENT BUILDING), Rape New York is a book that is guaranteed to disillusion you.
The Rime of Modern Mariner - Nick Hayes
Wordsworth said of Coleridge’s Ancient Rime that, “the old words and the strangeness of it have deterred readers from going on.” Nick Hayes’ modernization is verbally economical without feeling sparse. In creating his smart adaptation of a literary classic he has, intentionally or otherwise, taken Wordsworth’s critique to heart. ‘Modern Mariner’ deftly shifts the meaning of the original with beautifully rendered drawings and a strongly environmental message. His is an emotional appeal to humankind to change our relationship with our home planet and the sea that gave rise to us. The insidious nature of the ancient is translated into a sickeningly accurate portrayal of what we are doing to the land and water that sustain us - lessons that have been lost in our continuously detached relationship to that which gave rise to human life. So too does Hayes lament the lost art of storytelling. But in utilizing a foundational text he reinvigorates the craft and reminds us of how life ought to be lived. I loved this book.
so i got a phone call today from a representative of Amazon! apparently, he was given the task of reaching out to independent bookstores in order to ‘build’ a ‘relationship’ with the indies in order to ‘partner’ with us in a program to sell Kindles in our store…yea, really. so, in my most…
Our Granta display! It’s mostly sold out at this point, probably due to my superb ability to arrange books on pillars.
In other news, the last weekend of our annual sale is coming up, and it coincides with the 57th Street Art Fair. Come visit us!
Aleksandar Hemon delivers the keynote talk at the Seminary Co-op’s Grand Opening celebration.
My personal favorite is “The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition.”
Transit - Anna Seghers
A round-up in honor of Towel Day, courtesy of our staff and you froody internet people:
This is a great list
Wichita - Thad Ziolkowski
This book has not received nearly enough attention. I’ve been aggressively hand-selling it, as our terrified customers can attest. Here’s my staff rec, because I know we’re all thinking about tornadoes.
This novel is slim, but don’t let its size fool you into thinking it lacks depth: each moment, each sentence, is nearly perfect. Its brevity allows the story to ring in your mind for days. Dueling family tensions have played out very differently for two brothers, rendering one cripplingly cerebral and the other dangerously manic. Ziolkowski uses a bland and detached Kansas landscape (where the familial stakes are high) juxtaposed against an emotionally wrought New York City to showcase how our eccentricities, harmless when held separate from each other, gain a dangerous force when they are combined.
Did you know!?
I am particularly proud of this window and I am particularly fond of short stories.
If you’re a member, come in between now and June 2nd and get 20% off your purchase (of short stories, preferably).
There was a screaming sound in each ear, and the difference between the two pitches was so narrow that the vibration was like running a fingernail along the edge of a new dime.
The thin distance between the two high screams became narrower, they were almost one; now the difference was the edge of a razor blade, poised against the tips of each finger. The fingers were to be sliced longitudinally."
The Sheltering Sky