One of the exciting things about our road trip was that I gave myself permission to read a book that wasn't a booked event, wasn't a potentially booked event, and wasn't an upcoming book club selection. Hannah told me that she reserves a portion of each month for these sorts of pleasure reads, and looks forward to that period the way I get excited about maybe stopping for chicken tikka masala soup from The Soup House.
I am grateful that most of my booksellers are great about reading our upcoming event books, but they also read a lot of the new releases that aren't scheduled for Boswell. Even better, they write them up so we can let the publishers know what we're excited about. Sometimes we get one of these quotes in the Indie Next list. But even if we don't, it's nice to be able to give a shout out to great new titles. Here are a few of our recent picks.
Benediction, by Kent Haruf (Knopf) In Benediction,"Haruf's gracious and honest examination of the intricacies of human nature shines through his characters like a beacon guiding us towards unequaled prose. Dad is dying, there's a new preacher, and Alice has come to live with her grandmother. Haruf weaves these events effortlessly into the tapestry of small town life."
Benediction is the #1 Indie Next pick for March. Read Gayle Shanks review from Changing Hands, plus 19 other picks from booksellers here, or browse the Indie Bound case at Boswell.
I Want to Show You More, by Jamie Quatro (Grove Press). "Quatro mixes surreal and fabulist elements
with sharp and illuminating details about everyday life to create a
collection of compelling stories that challenge us to think about the
stories that we tell ourselves each day. Her characters are always
unpredictable in their pursuit of their sometimes desperate desires.
Many of the stories focus on characters attempting to reconcile modern
secularity with the surreal stories with which they have been raised,
and the powerful, earnest, disquietude this creates is the unique joy of
reading this collection. Really solid collection. I love, love, love
In the Daily Beast, Jane Ciabattari recommends Quatro's collection, along with new short story works from Jess Walter (did I mention he's coming May 6?) and Yoko Ogawa. As you know, Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel loved Ogawa's Revenge, as did our buyer Jason.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell (Knopf). "Continuing what she started in her first collection (St. Lucy's Home for Girls, Raised by Wolves), which I also loved, Russell takes metaphor and fabulism to a new level without resorting to cliche. At once fantastical and imaginative, as well as layered with thoughtful depth, the stories in this second collection are maturely voiced, artfully styled and haunting."
Maureen Corrigan raves about Russell's collection on the beloved talk show, Fresh Air.
A Palette of Particles, by Jeremy Bernstein (Belknap).
"A must for fans of chemistry and physics, Bernstein illustrates the different particles that make up our universe. His descriptions, appropriately enough, are colorful and detailed, making the most abstract pieces of science seem within grasp. The book is modern, touching on current hot physics topics like the Higgs Boson and particle accelerators."
The Kirkus review said "Bernstein delves into some areas that will flummox beginners, but few will resist his accounts of the history, flamboyant geniuses (many of whom he knew personally), and basics of protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the familiar world."
The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin (Delacrote).
"Like many others, I have long been captivated by the Lindberg myth—a heroic legend, wonderful story, and a tragedy of huge proportions. It’s all here, along with the hidden reality of their lives. A fascinating read!"
Jason noted (and I may have said this elsewhere) that The Aviator's Wife is selling better than Benjamin's last, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. Reviews have been good. Robin Vidimos in The Denver Post reports "Benjamin's first person narrative is remarkable in capturing the contradictions that form Anne's life. She is intelligent and well educated, but when it comes to her relationship with her husband, she is an invertebrate."
I'd give you one of my recs but just about everything I find interesting gets turned into a blog post. There's one tomorrow, in fact.