1. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
2. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
3. The Burning Room, by Michael Connelly
4. The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
5. Let Me Be Frank with You, by Richard Ford
6. Some Luck, by Jane Smiley
7. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan
8. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
9. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
10. Peripheral, by William Gibson
I was talking to our Knopf rep and had to acknowledge that I'd underestimated just how great the reviews have been for Some Luck, the first installment in Jane Smiley's new trilogy of a farming family in Iowa. Charles McGrath's profile in The New York Times gives readers a handle on Smiley's intent. Meredith Maran applauds her "critical patriotism" (a new compliment for me!) in the Los Angeles Times, while Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald's take is "simple" and "remarkable" and now she is on the longlist (not the shortlist, as previously noted) for The National Book Award.
Michael Connelly's The Burning Room, also makes an appearance, featuring Connelly's beloved Harry Bosch. Oline H. Cogdill reviews the book in The Detroit Free Press. The takeaway: "As he supposedly enters the last year of his career, Harry is even more tired of this intrusion that erupts constantly...The Burning Room excels as a look at how power, prestige and the news media can override the best intentions."
1. Baking Chez Moi, by Dorie Greenspan
2. The Motivation Manifesto, by Brendan Richard
3. Prune, by Gabrielle Hamilton (info on November 17 dinner below)
4. Winners Dream, by Bill McDermott
5. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
6. The Invisible Bridge, by Rick Perlstein
7. Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan
8. A Sense of Style, by Steven Pinker
9. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
10. How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman
At the Lake Park Bistro on Friday, Dorie Greenspan charmed a room full of attendees, not just with her presence but with her food too. With recipes from Around My French Table and Baking Chez Moi (signed copies available), Lake Park Bistro's dinner got many raves, and Jannis and I discussed the chocolate tart well into the evening. You can hear Dorie Greenspan talk to Bonnie North on Lake Effect here. Next up, Gabrielle Hamilton's Bacchus dinner for Prune is on Monday, November 17. Call (414) 765-1166 for a reservation. Operators are standing by, well, at least sometimes.
1. Hild, by Nicola Griffith
2. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, by Anna Quindlen
3. The Rathbones, by Janice Clark (in store lit group discussion December 1)
4. Bark, by Lorrie Moore
5. Americanah, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
6. The Circle, by Dave Eggers
7. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
9. A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas
10. Out of the Dark, by Patrick Modiano
Amal EL-Mohtar reviewed Nicola Griffith's Hild on NPR for the hardcover. The reviewer concisely explains the book and offers this enthusiasm: "With gorgeously supple prose, Griffith tells the story of Hild, the seventh-century woman who would come to be revered as Saint Hilda. Hild is, according to her ambitious and canny mother, "the light of the world," destined to lead the Yffings into prosperity as the king's seer. But her only magic is that of observations, of reading cycles and patterns of behavior, be they in weather, landscapes, or people. Step by step, thought by thought, we are introduced to Hild's development and deployment as adviser to Edwin Overking at a time of enormous social change, as petty kingdoms clash and merge like tectonic plates."
1. Healing the Soul, by Bhupendra Khatri
2. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
3. How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh
4. The Great Cholesterol Myth, by Jonny Bowden
5. Dying to Me, by Anita Moorjani
6. Before the Storm, by Rick Perlstein
7. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
8. Soccer in Sun and Shadow, by Eduardo Galeano
9. Margaret Fuller, by Megan Marshall
10. Wild Tales, by Graham Nash
Not necessarly new, but new in our top ten is Margaret Fuller, the Pulitzer Prize winning biography by Megan Marshall. Dwight Garner in The New York Times writes: "Margaret Fuller is as seductive as it is impressive. It has the grain and emotional amplitude of a serious novel, especially in its first half. It delivers a lovely and bumpy coming-of-age story, one of the best such stories 19th-century America has to offer. Now that the new season of Girls is winding down, this book is an entertainment that ambitious and literate young women should turn their attention toward."
Books for Kids:
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid V9: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney
2. Everblaze V3, by Shannon Messenger
3. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
4. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, by Katherine Rundell
5. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
6. The Heroes of Olympus V5: The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan
7. Skink: No Surrender, by Carl Hiaasen
8. The Zoo at the End of the World, by Eric Kahn Gale
9. The First Snowfall, by Harlow Rockwell
10. Fox's Garden, by Princesse Camcam
I had the great pleasure to work with Eric Kahn Gale on The Bully Book and lots of folks are saying that his new novel for kids, The Zoo at the Edge of the World, is even better. It's about the stuttering son of a famous explorer who helps run a zoo in South America. He finds himself only able to talk to animals, and when a mystical jaguar arrives, the animals start talking back. Kirkus Reviews calls the book "beautiful and fully absorbing."
This week in the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows. He writes that the book is not for everyone (and while I love the book, I certainly agree). You've read my take, but Fischer nicely gets to the heart of the story: "'How do we set words to life's tragic score?' Yoli asks us. 'How do you go on?' Elf later asks her sister...This wrenching novel is Toews' brave attempt at one."
Folks in Chicago and the Twin Cities can also see Miriam Toews this week. She'll be at Book Cellar on Wednesday, November 12 and Common Good in St. Paul on November 13.
Mary Louise Schumacher reviews Kate Spade's Places to Go, People to See. Her observation: "From an inspired installation of cocktail stir sticks to intoxicating lines from old movies, from the suggestion of a cup of coffee in an unknown city to pillbox hats, Polaroids, practical tips that are anything but practical and pen drawings on hotel stationery, this little coffee table book will get your imagination right where it lives."
Here's a profile of St. Robert teen Jack Hietpas who put together a book of his fellow students' writing, Milwaukee: A Collection of Work by Local Teens.
And finally, Woodland Pattern's gala featuring poet and Fugs musician Edward Sanders on Friday, November 14, at Kenilworth Studios. His most recent release is a facsimile production of his first book, A Book of Glyphs.