Half a Life, the memoir that won the National Book Critics Circle Award, is coming out in paperback on May 31. The story was first a piece on This American Life. When Strauss was in high school, a fatal accident left a classmate dead, and Strauss was driving the car involved. I'm not going to say more, except everyone's life was forever changed, and the reprecussions lasted years.
As a fan of the book in hardcover (read the blog post), I'm thrilled that we are able to have a special event with the author in paperback. It's lunch with Strauss at Downer Avenue's Cafe Hollander on Tuesday, June 21, at 12 Noon.
It's a three course meal, staring with salad and ending with Hoegaarden Short Cake. I don't know what this is, but Heather at Lowlands Catering (that's their parent company) said it's delicious. For entree, choose from grilled chicken, tilapia, or rosemary goat cheese mac. The $40 ticket includes food, non-alcoholic beverage, tax, tip, and a copy of the book (or a $10 gift card). Order your ticket here.
Half a Life is a great book club book, and Darin Strauss is an incredibly charming fellow. I think it should be a great lunch. What, you don't want to break bread with the author of such of novels as Chang and Eng, The Real McCoy, and More than You Know? He's also doing an evening event at Next Chapter on June 20.
Half a Life was just one of the books featured in Sunday's rep night by our Random House "blue" rep John. There are a lot of exciting books out this spring and summer from the Random and Crown publishing groups. Here is a short list:
The Informationist, by Taylor Stevens. Vanessa "Michael" Munroe is a corporate information gathering specialist with a dark past. The author is writing somewhere in the zone of where Stieg Larsson crosses Lee Child. Or perhaps their overlapping groups in a Venn disagram. A lost girl takes her to Africa.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield (on sale July 12). Set in 1950's Arkansas, this novel by a seasoned screenwriter is a good story peopled with even stronger characters. Dare I say atmospheric? The story is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old Tomboy named Swan. Scout, anyone?
We're already talking up Doc, with Jason getting no less than three quotes together from enthusiastic booksellers.Mary Doria Russell's newest novel is a historical that pulls back the layers the myth of Doc Holliday to find the person inside.
Jason's also talking up The Floor of Heaven, by Howard Blum, a popular history about the 19th century Alaskan gold rush. It's the perfect recommendation for that special someone who has already read Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts.
The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Don't send me a begonia, all right? A young woman leaves the foster care system unable to function in society. The only skill she seems to have is a mastery of the Victoria art of flower language. Aside from red roses, it's a bit of a mystery, isn't it?
Here's what Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bee: "A deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after you've burned every bridge behind you. The Language of Flowers took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition--I loved this book."
And we haven't even gotten to The Tragedy of Arthur, which Conrad finished and loved.
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