Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Our Holiday Gift Guide Landing, Plus a Few Fiction Recommendations.

Folks on our mailing list should be getting their holiday gift guides any day now, if they haven't already. When I called into Boswell, I was told that several folks had arrived bearing one in hand, and at least one person bought a pile of The Day the Crayons Quit as a result. Sharon and I would agree this is a worthy pile indeed, though Jannis noted that it's a bit long for a storytime. As an aside, Jannis's first storytime was a big hit and we've scheduled #2 for Sunday, January 12, 11 am, featuring Philip and Erin Stead's Bear Has a Story to Tell and Kevin Henkes's Old Bear. I'm sure you can't bear to miss this one!

You're probably wondering how we figure out how to gather addresses. You've got to be on the Boswell Benefits program and you have to have given us you're correct address. Believe me, nowadays that's a tall order. Who remembers to update their street address tp their bookseller when they move. If you have moved in the last year, why not check your address with us the next time you're in the store so you can get next year's newsletter? If all goes well, we might actually send out two, but since we haven't done a spring one in several years, I wouldn't count on it.

Needless to say, we can't afford to send to everyone who signs up, so we came up with a threshold for sales that would get your on the list. Assuming about 400 newsletters will come back, that will give us a mailing of about 3500. For the rest of you, we'll have copies available at Boswell, and soon if not already, a downloadable pdf on our website.

I thought I would offer some highlights. Today I'm going to note some fiction titles that haven't yet been featured on the blog or email newsletter. I first took note of Fiend (Crown), a novel by Peter Stenson. I think Jason had also read this, but it's one of Greg's yearend recommendations so to me, he owns it. Per the publisher: " A long-time, hopelessly addicted meth user, Chase Daniels see the impending zombie apocalypse as an opportunity to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being." Oh good, an inspirational zombie novel. Jason notes (I guess they can share enthusiasm) that "the brilliance in the book comes from the story being told from inside the mind of a meth addict." It's a great pick for that person on your list who likes The Walking Dead or World War Z.

Another featured title is the Algerian novel, Where Tigers are at Home (Other Press), by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès  Per the publisher: "Winner of the Prix Médicis, this multifaceted literary novel follows the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher across 17th century Europe and Eleazard von Wogau, a retired French correspondent, through modern Brazil." I suppose this has nothing to do with our friend Jeff, who recently stated doing bookstore marketing at Other Press, had a great visit to the store, looking around and chatting up booksellers.

If you follow our recs, you can't be surprised this would be on our list. Alan Cheuse said it best, in his NPR review: "This book--the first of his to appear in the U.S. in English-- stands as a challenge to readers who want their fiction to offer a quick pay-off. The novel is probably scholarly enough to satisfy those who enjoy reading Umberto Eco, and erotic enough for those who take pleasure in the sexual gambits in the fiction of Milan Kundera. And among its other narrative delights is an adventure plot straight out of Michael Crichton." Oh, and since we love books in translation and their translators, let us give props to Mike Mitchell.

When it comes down to it, there's not a lot of fiction on our year-end list that I haven't written about before. So then it came down to what I was going to feature as a rec in the gift guide. In the end, I used the "which book am I most likely going to want to reread" and that made me lean towards Cathleen Schine's Fin and Lady (Sarah Crichton/FSG). Maybe it's my New York roots, but boy did I think she did a great job at capturing Manhattan in the 1960s. And I just loved the relationship. Maybe it's because I have such strong bonds with my two sisters. Because they were a bit older than me, it didn't really cement until I was a bit older--when I was a kid, it was all just a big mystery. Plus Fin and Lady was funny, sad, sweet, poetic, joyous,  and didn't have the problem I've had with several books a year where I questioned the ending. This one was perfect.

I hope to write a few more posts on some of our other gift ideas.

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