Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Elizabeth Noble, author of "The Reading Group" and several other well
received books, is back with another winner. "The Girl Next Door"
involves an ensemble cast and seems very much like a reasonably
intelligent soap opera. We get to see bits of the lives of several
people in one building in Manhattan--relationships begin and end and
have everything in between happen to them as well. There is birth and
death, love and hate, fear and joy. This isn't a fluff read--Noble
weaves some pretty powerful emotions into these neighbors' tales (I
required a tissue late last night at one particularly intense scene).
You'll want to know what happens--with everyone!
This is a story told twice--once by Nora and once by Timothy. It is a love story. It is
a murder mystery. It keeps you guessing to the very end because it is extremely cleverly
written. The character development is deft, and the story moves along quickly with no
small touch of humor running throughout. I had TREMENDOUS difficulty putting this book
down. Trust me--you want to read this book.
I also love her earlier bookhttp://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780452288973
This really could be called "Murder on Wisteria Lane" and is a great read for the Desperate Housewife fan. Upscale suburbia is stunned when one of their own is killed--and suspicion runs rampant. It's kind of funny (especially the digs it takes at reading groups and cookie cutter wives of urban professionals) and actually a decent mystery with some VERY interesting twists at the end. One of the main sleuths is a former bookseller, which is a lot of fun as well.
There are lots of great books coming out in January, so stay tuned for more news and reviews!
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Shelf Discovery By Lizzie Skurnick
http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780061756351 Shurnick talks about various young adult novels over the years in themed essays such as memorable narrators, teens on the verge, etc. She writes with a flair for the funny, so this a really entertaining read in it's own right that will bring back to mind lots of forgotten favorites.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book
By Anita Silvey
Silvey asked one question of over one hundred movers, shakers and shapers of society:"What children's book changed the way you see the world?" The result is a delightful book full of treasured memories of books that transformed these people, at least in part, into who they are today. This is truly a fabulous book that people will be talking about for years.
This all brings several books to my mind. For instance, Winnie the Pooh, who turned 80 this year!
By A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard
I brought him into my adult life with Benjamin Hoff's delightful
Tao of Pooh.
Another that's gotten a lot of renewed attention these days is Maurice Sendek's unforgettable glimpse into an angry young boys imagination
Where the Wild Things Are
If you'd like a bit more grownup perspective on the book,
try Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation By Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked)
And last, but by means least, are some of my own personal favorites:
Little Bear 50th Anniversary Edition
By Else Holmelund Minarik, Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree 40th Anniversary Edition
By Shel Silverstein
The Velveteen Rabbit
By William Nicholson, Margery Williams
Happy Holidays Everyone!!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Bad Dog Marley (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780061171147) was a HUGE hit last year, so this year the Marley fans are getting Marley Goes To School
Of course it's funny--John Grogan has a talent for that, even for the kiddies, and the illustrations by Richard Cowdrey, are lots of fun.
Staying in the doggie vein, I really like The Dog Who Loved Tortillas (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781933693545) because it talks about getting along with siblings, taking responsibility, and is written bilingually. Plus the claymation illustrations are sooooooo cute!
I've got a HUGE car fan on my list, so I was extremely pleased to
stumble upon Jon Scieszka's Trucktown Truckery Rhymes
(http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781416941354). These are all
redone nursery rhymes and familiar kids songs with a hilarious truck
theme (Pop Goes The Diesel, Wrecker Rosie Sat On A Wall, etc), and the
illustrations are adorable.
Because my car fan is also a budding artist, I got her the
Trucktown Fun At the Junkyard coloring/activity/sticker book too
Anyone who has spent any time whatsoever around me this past year
knows that I fell HARD for Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones
(http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780525471349), the Siamese
kittenboy who likes to pretend that he is the superhero Chihuahua
Skippito who has amazing and daring adventures. Often with a song or
few involved. These books are hilarious, so I've got several under
the tree this year:
Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones
Skippyjon Jones In The Doghouse
Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble
(http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780525477549), all of which come with bonus CDs.
I also snagged Skippyjon Jones A Surprise for Mama
(http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780448448169), his first stickerstorybook (and what kid doesn't love stickers, eh?). There are SEVERAL more Skippyjon themed books on our shelves for wee little tots on up-- "Aunty Claus" just couldn't afford to get them ALL this year! lol!
Stay tuned--I've got more book ideas for the kid in all of us!
Ho ho ho!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
tell you about the books that caught my eye for the 3 and under set on my holiday list.
For the babies:
Workman Publishing has come out with these great books called
"Indestructibles" since babies "read" with their hands and mouths.
They are made of a kind of paper that won't tear or rip and is 100%
washable. The illustrations are bright and lots of fun to look at.
There are three books in the series now, all by Kaaren Pixton:
Wiggle! March! (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780761156987)
Flutter! Fly! (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780761156970)
Creep! Crawl! (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780761156963)
I also picked up Sleep,Baby,Sleep, illustrated by Teri Weidner. It's
a board book with lovely watercolors and cute farm animal
illustrations to go along with the lullaby and just the right thing
for a wee one's bedtime ritual.
I just discovered Stephen Parlato books and I am COMPLETELY blown away
by them. Dragons Love (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781897476185)
is enchanting. The illustrations are all collages cut into different
shapes to fit the simple but profound stories. You better believe
I'll be looking for more from Parlato in the future. Forget the kids,
I want this for myself! lol
Another truly beautiful book is The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry
Pinkney (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780316013567). There are
no words, but the pictures are so amazing it's easy to get completely
lost in this book. I wouldn't mind having framed copies of any of
them, frankly. Pinkney puts a depth into each picture that is
impossible to describe and simply must be experienced.
And then there is my all time favorite, Graeme Base's Animalia
(http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780140559965). This is
another book of such fantastic illustrations that I can loose myself
for hours at a time just looking at all the marvelous details.
Fun Books for Young Learners
I found THE cutest counting books for the 3 year olds in my life. Ten
Little Racing Cars (http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780769660646)
and Ten Little Ladybugs
Both have colorful, tactile, 3D characters that appear and disapper through
cutouts in the pages of these board books. They are going to in
irresistible to kids! The rhyming text will go over well too.
I'll be posting ideas for older kids soon!
to bring to your attention.
First, at perfect stocking stuffer size, is "Christmas Is Good" by Trixie Koontz, who is
author Dean Koontz's dog, a retired service dog. It is hilarious--I"m talking rib
aching, tears in the eyes, can't breathe because you are laughing too hard hilarious. It
even contains a recipe, from Three Dog Bakery (which is a fabulous shop. There was one
in Cherry Creek North, but I haven't looked to see if it's still there.), for Peanut
Butter dog treats. The best part is that Trixie is donating all of her royalties from
this book to Canine Companions for Independence, the organization who originally raised
and trained her. http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781401322946
The other fab find is a trade paperback copy of "Bad To The Bone: Memoir of a Rebel
Doggie Blogger", by Bo Hoefinger of dogster.com's "For The Love of Dog" blog. Reading it
a bit on the bus on the way home today tells me that I'm going to have to get my own copy
because it's absolutely irresistible! http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9780806531298
Happy Barking Holidays!!!!
Friday, December 11, 2009
10. The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch and family
9. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
8. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Kathering Howe...
7. Coop by Michael Perry
6. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips
5. Goat Song by Brad Kessler
4. Stitches by David Small
3. Wag by Patrick McDonnell
2. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Now it's your turn. What were your favorite reads this year? If you don't have 10 or the ones you want to list didn't come out this year, that's no problem--we still want to hear about them! Also, if anyone is interested in participating in a 2010 reading challenge, give us a shout and we'll create a group.
I hope December is treating you all kindly.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (Algonquin)
coming in February 2010, reviewed by Jackie B.
It says a lot that this debut novel has already won The Bellwether Prize (an award for literary fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships). It says a lot that Durrow is being compared to Toni Morrison, Nella Larsen and the early Langston Hughes. What can't be said until you read it for yourself is how deeply the reader will grow to care for Rachel, the lone survivor of her mother's attempted murder/suicide (her brother and baby sister were no so lucky) who has come to live with her grandmother in Portland in the early 1980s. Rachel is biracial, but her remaining extended family and the kids at school see her as black, something Rachel had never before thought about. This coming of age drama is woven into the mystery of what happened to push her mother over the edge and is told over the course of several years. It's full of characters whose whole lives were changed that day by the tragedy that day , and things come full circle in a deeply meaningful and satisfying way.
I found it very difficult to put this book down. This is a powerful read and an amazing first novel by a new voice to watch in literary fiction.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
First is The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, which I feel the need to at least mention again (see the archive for me waxing poetic about this book). We had a fantastic turnout with our signing with her at our Colfax store, learning that she has a legend of fans both in Denver and pretty much everywhere. TC just got lots more copies in, and I will say that it will make a fantastic gift for the holidays (hint, hint).
Another great book is Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. This book had me at its very short but very memorable first paragraph: "I saw the devil at the age of three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever."
Gesine (pronounced geh see neh--don't mess it up because it makes her crazy when you do) had a glamourous Hollywood life running a production company with her sister Sandra Bullock. Red carpets, "doing" lunch, meetings and schmoozing made up her daily life. And she was miserable.
To make herself feel better, she turned to an old love, pastries. Specifically, making, even inventing, them. When, in a meeting, she referred to casting a movie as being like finding the right spices for an apple pie, she knew it was time to get out. She and her husband Rick Prado (a movie illustrator and barista extraordinaire) fell in love with Vermont and decided to make it their home. They found an old general store, gutted it and it became "Gesine's". It opened on Aug 4, 2004 to lines longer than anyone could have imagined thanks to a casual mention of the fabulous French macaroons Gesine makes (which are almond, not coconut) in an interview in In Style magazine. Well, that and the fact that Sandy manned the register that first day. Gesine
stayed in the back, being a self proclaimed "socially retarded misanthrope", and followed her passion for baking. They might have come the first time to see a movie star. They kept coming back because Gesine is a magician with flour and sugar and chocolate.
Her passion comes through in her book as well. There are fantastic recipes in it, but it's the reasons and rememeberances, the stories and the history that really make this book something special. Gesine is rather blunt at times, but I actually admired her for her honesty and
her wit. This is a book about the importance of baking, the love and intention that goes into it all. It's also about the importance of sitting down with people, especially people you love, and enjoying fine things with one another in the middle of our too hectic lives.
The retail shop is closed now as Gesine moves on to "Step Two" of her baking adventures, which involves consulting on a shop opening soon in Austin where she is " creating specialty confections with a Lonestar twist." (that from her Blogspot blog with the same name as the book). It sounds like Step 3 will be opening an online business that ships her famous macaroons and other confections.
Next, I'd recommend Suzan Colon's Cherries In Winter. This reads a little like sitting in the attic with your best friend going through a box of your great grandma's old recipes, filling her in on the stories that went along with the memories of those dishes. Puzzling over faded hand-writing and laughing at some of the ingredients that haven't seen a store shelf in years. That's the kind of chatty intimacy this slim book has--as well as fabulous recipes. Colon's family has always used the comfort of good, but practical, food to get them through hard times, and that wisdom is no less useful now than it was 50, 75 or 100 years ago. This book leaves you feeling like you just got a big hug from your Grandma right after she's dried your tears and slid a piece of warm cherry pie in front of you.
And, lastly, I'm really impressed with Mollie Katzen's (of Moosewood fame) Get Cooking.
It's designed for the beginning cook, complete with pages of what gear a kitchen needs, from
knives to storage. There is even a lengthy section--with plenty of pictures--of how to chop vegetables, which would have seemed odd to me if I hadn't just had to teach a young man I know that yes, you do need to peel a yellow onion before you slice it. Then begins the 150 simple recipes to make some cooking basics like soups and mashed potatoes. She starts with the absolute basics, then lists add ins and other ideas for a bit more flair, still keeping it as simple as
possible. Which I loved. I've read through her Moosewood books and often been frustrated by their complicated instructions or exotic ingredients. There is very little of that here, and it's confined to the "get creative" sections of each recipe. This book is accessible to everyone, with enough tips and twists on recipes to keep a seasoned cook interested. Heck, her version of Waldorf Salad actually sounds GOOD, which is a minor miracle in my pot-luck scarred opinion. This would make a great first cookbook for a person just starting out on their own, or a great addition to anyone's bulging cookbook shelves.
Okay, that's it. I've gotta stop writing and go eat something!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
If you have used books that you would like to "sell" to the Tattered Cover, you'll find our buying times below. At this time, we will only be offering credit vouchers that may be used to purchase any items (excluding gift cards) from all three of our stores and coffee shops.
We are looking for recent books in excellent condition. Our Used Book buyer will decide which books we may want for our inventory based on condition, quantity and need. There is a 4 box or bag maximum per drop-off. (Sorry, no textbooks or computer books.)
He will be available at the Lower Downtown store from: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If you have specific questions, please contact our used book buyer Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, November 16, 2009
An Ad Hoc Gift List for Foodies This Holiday Season!
I thought the season would pass without a new cookbook that would awake the desire to rejoice in food and to sample the joy of cooking a perfect roasted chicken or other splendid winter fare, but then Thomas Keller's new cookbook Ad Hoc at Home appeared, just in time. Keller is a genius of a chef and now he has turned his attention to the family table. He is concerned with making you a better and more creative cook with many tips and suggestions for variations.
Also, this season:
Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Generally, I don't recommend specialty cookbooks as gifts but there must be an exception for this new offering by the author of The Cake Bible.
Don't forget that Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros.
Blue Eggs & Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley will be new to those folks who peek in the cookbook section once a year. I have found the recipes in Blue Eggs to be amazingly good and not all that complicated.
For the books that aren't all that new, but will sell like hotcakes if not crepes, think of pairings:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking seems to call for a copy of My Life in France.
The Gourmet Today Cookbook ("newly" published, but not so different from The Gourmet Cookbook) should do well since the demise of the magazine, but don't forget to pair with one of the fine books of essays by Ruth Reichl, such as Tender at the Bone.
The Joy of Cooking, a perennial favorite gift book, can be all the more welcome with a copy of Ken Zraly's Windows on The World Complete Wine Course, a well-written introduction to wine (which bears quiet testimony to the restaurant lost in the 9/11 attacks).
Bon Appetit, friends of Julia everywhere.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It's a new month, and that means we, here at the Tattered Cover, have selected a new V.I.B. (Very Impressive Book).
November's selection is a book I've talked about here before: Stitches by David Small.
Even more of our booksellers have read this book, and we've all decided more people need to read this book. It's so impressive. Stunning. Harrowing. Beautiful. Amazing. Those are some of the adjectives booksellers have told me about this book.
Here is what some of our booksellers are saying:
'Stitches' by David Small is a fantastic example of good literature in the graphic novel genre. This book is a graphic memoir centered around David's experience with cancer as a
young man. What this book is really about is family, independence, and coming of age. This book does well at what is best about graphic novels. Visuals have a way of producing emotional responses in ways that words can't. The loneliness and frustration in this book are palpable. On an artistic note, there are some fantastic visual transitions. If you don't read graphic novels this would be a great introduction to them. If a picture is worth a thousand words 'Stitches' is a massive and powerful tome.
I finally sat down and read this book this weekend. The tales are true--it reads really quickly. Unless, like me, you get lost in the haunting illustrations that kept me mesmerized for minutes on end. His artistry is masterful and nearly overwhelmingly powerful. His story is heart breakingly bleak, his ability to keep himself together and find a life of happiness and love through art is awe inducing and as inspirational a tale as I have ever heard. Please, give yourself the gift of reading this book.
I read through it--it took about an hour. I cried. Then I read it again.
Here is a link to some of David Small's other books.
Do yourself or a loved one a favor, and take a look at this powerful, unforgettable book. (And here is a link to older entries in this blog about this book.)
Friday, October 30, 2009
Well, as we here in Colorado celebrate Halloween in our seemingly traditional way (digging out from a blizzard!), the good folks at the American Academy of Poets have been celebrating the holiday in all sorts of fun ways. They've added lots of Halloween content to their website, and is a great way to while away an afternoon...or ghoulish evening.
Click here to read an article about the graves of poets.
And click here to see a number of poems about Halloween.
And, if you still haven't picked out a Halloween costume for tomorrow night's party, click here for some literary ideas.
And have a Happy Halloween!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I actually did a little happy dance when I found out that Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks and blogger extraordinaire was coming to Tattered Cover to do a signing (there are some publishing people in New York who are still giggling about THAT). But I fell for Ree hook-line-sinker and spur. This isn't just a cookbook she's written--she's chronicling life on a ranch with a growing family in a down-to-earth, self effacing, charming and utterly irresistible way. And the woman can COOK!!! But she's very honest, and probably most funny, when talking about the disasters that occurred in her kitchen, as well. The added bonus of her exceptional photography in the book is just icing on a very delicious cake. Come see Ree (and me!) at our Colfax Store on Monday, November 2 at 7:30 pm.
Here's my review of her book:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
by Ree Drummond
This book is a lot of fun. Part cookbook, part scrapbook (complete
with the author's own photography and honest to goodness clip art),
and all love affair with food, family and ranch life. There are homey
tidbits (like what NOT to scratch after seeding a jalapeno), old
fashioned recipe instructions ("throw on a big pile of pico de gallo"
or "if your husband walks in as you're completing this step, shield
the bowl with your body and stir quickly. What he doesn't know won't
hurt him.") and other hilarities, this book is as much fun to simply
sit and read as it is easy to follow the recipes which include tons of
step by step photographs. There are also plenty of pictures of the
kids, the cowboys, the horses, the basset hounds and even the dirty
dishes to show that anything good tends to make a bit of a mess. This
is cooking for cowboys and kids, and it couldn't be more entertaining
or mouthwatering! She's also got a great blog with a recipe share
link called Tasty Kitchen (with even MORE fabulous recipes).
Foodies--check her out and I think you too will fall under her
humorous charm: www.thepioneerwoman.com.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel, Nocturnes, Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, has really struck a chord (argh, but it's true!) with a number of our booksellers.
When we heard that he had a new novel coming out, many of us scrambled to get a chance to read the advanced copy. We only had one copy that we passed from bookseller to bookseller.
Here's what some of those who have read the book had to say:
Ishiguro conceived of this book as if it were a piece of music in five movements. It is his first collection of short stories, coming after his six very accomplished and nuanced novels. The theme of music is woven into each of these stories, connecting them, and sometimes the
characters, as if with a gossamer thread. I am not usually a short story reader, but I absolutely loved this book! It is sometimes heartbreaking, always lyrical, and surprisingly humorous - I laughed out loud at times. He is so skillful at using narrative in a way that lets the reader in on insights about his characters that they are unaware of. His prose is clear and precise.
This is an extraordinary piece of writing that gently and insistently pulls you from one story to the next, rewarding you every step of the way.
Wow. Just read this book in one sitting. Utterly sublime. These five short stories of music and nightfall just highlight what a wonderful writer Ishiguro is. Each of these stories stand on their own, but read as an ensemble, their slow & gentle power carries the reader away. The stories are full of heartbreak and loss, of the sweet music of memory, of spare descriptions that paint a picture so perfectly, the reader is sitting in the hotels, the piazzas and hearing the music. Each is told from a first-person narrator, not always visible to us. This adds an intimacy to the stories that really brings out the emotional impact of each. Highly recommended. I would like to sit back down and re-read them again and again, like listening to music.
After reading Joe and Linda's glowing reviews, I had to give this one a try for myself. It really is a wonderful book, and for it was a great introduction to an author I have previously avoided (blame the cure-for-insomnia movie that was made from his "The Remains Of The Day"). I'm especially pleased with his character development given the fact that these are short stories--really short, since there is 5 of them in this slim volume. But each story gave me both a character that I could identify with and a character that I had to puzzle over. The themed stories (music and nightfall) and the interwoven characters added a nice touch as well. They read quickly but give you plenty to think about. In a nutshell--I'm impressed.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Announcing the Tattered Cover's second V.I.B. choice: Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon. This is a paperback original, which means that we get all of the power this novel has to offer, only at a smaller price!
Jarrettsville takes place in Northern Maryland, just as the Civil War has officially ended. It is a love story. It is the story of a murder and subsequent trial. It is unlike anything else I have read. Rebel sympathies have not faded with the end of the war. Southern values have not changed overnight. Into this world comes Martha Cairnes, a modern-for-her-time woman who falls in love with Nick McComas, a neighbor whose family helped fleeing slaves during the war. They fall in love, but are held back from fully realizing their love from their families and societal pull. It is a tragic story, told from multiple points of view. This book will leave folks with much to talk about.
But don't just take my word on it, Cathy Langer, our lead buyer was the person who got me to read it, and here's her review:
Cornelia Nixon's novel begins in 1869 as Martha Jane Cairnes murders Nicholas McComas in
front of many witnesses in Jarrettsville, Maryland, a town just below the Mason-Dixon
Line and a microcosm of America in the years following the Civil War. This tale of two
lovers and why it ends so badly for them is the story of neighbor fighting neighbor, old
customs and quarrels dying hard, passion, friendship, and the complicated relationships
between whites and blacks, all told exquisitely.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Last night David Small held his audience spellbound during a multimedia presentation and interview with Bret Bertholf at Tattered Cover in LoDo. His new book Stitches is a groundbreaking work that looks like a graphic novel but, here's the clincher, it isn't fiction. It's the chilling story of his own childhood. Read about it in our earlier blog post below. Then sit down, open it up, and take a look.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
My coworker, Charles, handed me a book recently and told me, "Joe, you have to read this." I hesitated as I always do when someone tells me I have to do something. And then one evening I picked up the book. And I devoured it. And I have been walking around the store telling people, "You have to read this book." It's powerful. It's humorous. It's touching and very sad. I'm glad I read it. And the exciting thing is this: not only can you read this book, you can come to the Tattered Cover LoDo store this Wednesday night, October 7, and meet David Small. He's the author of Stitches: A Memoir.
David Small is reading this Wednesday at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Lower Downtown.
Here is an interview with him on NPR.
Below is a series of scenes from the book.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Many of our fellow booksellers have been loving Dan Chaon's latest novel, Await Your Reply. It recently came out in hardcover. Our friends at Skylight Books in Los Angeles made a book trailer that we want to post here.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Here is a smattering of links to some great podcasts (I know these are great ones, because I hosted them!):
Anne Waldman, co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, came to the store on July 30. It was a dynamic poetry reading and has been caught for posterity here.
Reif Larsen came to the store in May. His book, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, is a wonder, and his reading really highlighted why this book is so great. Click here to listen.
Michael Connelly is a former newspaper man who has a Denver connection, and who now writes bestselling mysteries. I was completely mesmerized by his tales of working the murder desk for the LA Times. He also spoke eloquently of the state of newspaper publishing. Listen to him speak here.
These are just three of the 177 podcasts you can listen to on this site. There will also always be a link to it on this webpage. Look down to your left under Want More Tattered Cover on the web?
Check it out!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I don't know about all of you, but lately my life has been HECTIC. Which is why it's been awhile since I've had a chance to push science fiction books on the unsuspecting public. That's right I'm actually telling people to read sci-fi. So here it goes, if you don't read sci-fi you should read Neal Stephenson. Well not just anything by him, but some of his stuff is good for those not inclined to read sci-fi. I think his works will always be classified as sci-fi partly because of the success of Snow Crash and Diamond Age, both fantastically good novels heavily steeped in sci-fi themes. In fact if you LIKE sci-fi and haven't read both those books, go out and get them ASAP.
There are two of his books that I would like to recommend today, Cryptonomicon and Anathem. Cryptonomicon is a novel that has two story lines running through it. One is in the South Pacific during the end of WWII, following a group of POWs being held by the Japanese and forced to build secret tunnels to hide their gold before retreating from advancing Allied forces. The other story line is during present day and follows a group of fortune hunters looking for this gold. There aren't really any major sci-fi themes in this work. Cryptology and computing is as 'sci-fi' as it gets, and I think those are themes that are important to us all, even if we don't realize it. One of the most interesting themes is the idea of privacy rights and distribution and protection of information.
Anathem(just released in paperback!) is a story about a group of monastic scholars who have sequestered themselves from the rest of the world as a repository of knowledge and learning. Then a threat to their entire world draws the scholars out from behind their walls as they help deal with it. I don't want to give away what the threat is as the characters don't know at first either and Stephenson is masterful at revealing things to the characters and reader at the same time. I will say that this book is one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in years, more so than many philosophy texts I read in college, while being exciting at the same time. This one has a bit more in the way of sci-fi themes but not to the extent that it should distract anyone. The themes used compliment the ideas in the story instead of substituting as the ideas themselves.
Both these books are long but Stephenson ambitiously and successfully tackles big ideas with some of the best character development of anyone writing fiction these days, and he's FUN. He is easily one of my top ten favorite authors and deserves a wide readership, even more so than the group of devoted fans he already has.
Listen to an interview with Neal Stephenson talking about Anathem by clicking here.
And to listen to a podcast of the author's November visit to the Tattered Cover by clicking here.
Until next time,