Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dispatches From The Field: Joe says "This collection of stories caught me off guard."

With buoyant humor and incisive, cunning prose, Rahul Mehta sets off into uncharted literary territory. The characters in Quarantine—openly gay Indian-American men—are Westernized in some ways, with cosmopolitan views on friendship and sex, while struggling to maintain relationships with their families and cultural traditions. Grappling with the issues that concern all gay men—social acceptance, the right to pursue happiness, and the heavy toll of listening to their hearts and bodies—they confront an elder generation's attachment to old-country ways. Estranged from their cultural in-group and still set apart from larger society, the young men in these lyrical, provocative, emotionally wrenching, yet frequently funny stories find themselves quarantined.

Already a runaway success in India, Quarantine marks the debut of a unique literary talent.

Joe says:

"This collection of stories caught me off guard. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find nine immensely readable stories that highlighted the lives of Indian Americans. The title of the collection, Quarantine,  is apt for these stories, as each of the characters seem to be isolated from something, be it their homeland, society at large, or their hopes at what their lives would look like by now. In each of the stories, the characters are vivid and have stuck to my memory--the grandmother dutifully studying to take the citizenship exam, even when it is not what she wants to do struck me as especially haunting. Many of the stories take part, either whole or partially, in India, through the eyes of an Indian-American. These were, for me, especially interesting. From the perspective of Americans, these people are returning to their homelands. From the perspective of Indians, these are Americans. These stories are about people who do not belong, and must forge their own way, create their own home. And many of these narrators are young gay men, who are doubly separated from society: in America: neither straight nor American; in India, neither Indian nor welcome. These stories are offer powerful, personal insight into what it means to be a part of a culture, of a society, of a family. These stories are told not only with wisdom, but with the comforting voice of someone who's been there. In these short stories, author Rahul Mehta offers us a glimpse into a world at once mysterious and familiar, through the eyes of some very interesting narrators."

Investigating the Truth About Truthers

From 9/11 conspiracy theorists and UFO obsessives to the cult of Ayn Rand and Birther crusaders, America is suffering from an explosion in post-rationalist ideological movements. In Among the Truthers, journalist Jonathan Kay offers a thoughtful and sobering look at how social networking and Web-based video sharing have engendered a flourishing of new conspiracism. Kay details the sociological profiles of ten brands of modern conspiracists—the Failed Historian, the Mid-Life Crack-Up, the Damaged Survivor, the Campus Revolutionary, the Stoner, the Clinical Case, the Puzzle Solver, the Christian Doomsayer, the Cosmic Voyager, and the Egomaniac—in a compelling exploration of America’s departure from reason and what it means for the very future of rational discourse as the nation steps further into the 21st century.

From left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists to right-wing Obama-hating "birthers"—a sobering, eyewitness look at how America's marketplace of ideas is fracturing into a multitude of tiny, radicalized boutiques—each peddling its own brand of paranoia.

Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices.

The most disturbing symptom of this trend is the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members believe that Bush administration officials engineered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a pretext to launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these "Truthers" are merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups: anti-Obama extremists who believe their president is actually a foreign-born Manchurian Candidate seeking to destroy the United States from within; radical alternative-medicine advocates who claim that vaccine makers and mainstream doctors are conspiring to kill large swathes of humanity; financial neo-populists who have adapted the angry message of their nineteenth-century forebears to the age of Twitter; Holocaust deniers; fluoride phobics; obsessive Islamophobes; and more.

For two years journalist Jonathan Kay immersed himself in this dark subculture, attending conventions of conspiracy theorists, surfing their discussion boards, reading their websites, joining their Facebook groups, and interviewing them in their homes and offices. He discovered that while many of their theories may seem harmlessly bizarre, their proliferation has done real damage to the sense of shared reality that we rely on as a society. Kay also offers concrete steps that intelligent, culturally engaged Americans can take to reject conspiracism and help regain control of the intellectual landscape.

TC Tidbits: Jack Black To Star In Jess Walter's Adaptation of "The Financial Life of Poets"

"Jack Black is to star in Michael Winterbottom's Bailout, a comedy based on Jess Walter's novel, The Financial Lives of The Poets.

Walter penned the screenplay from his own novel which details the story of one man's attempt to come back from the brink of financial ruin after meeting a couple of losers in a late night supermarket."

Read more here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cathy's Recommending...

An Ethical Compass

In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.” Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. A project at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is its Ethics Prize—a remarkable essay-writing contest through which thousands of students from colleges across the country are encouraged to confront ethical issues of personal significance. The Ethics Prize has grown exponentially over the past twenty years.

“Of all the projects our Foundation has been involved in, none has been more exciting than this opportunity to inspire young students to examine the ethical aspect of what they have learned in their personal lives and from their teachers in the classroom,” writes Elie Wiesel. Readers will find essays on Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, sweatshops and globalization, and the political obligations of the mothers of Argentina’s Disappeared. Other essays tell of a white student who joins a black gospel choir, a young woman who learns to share in Ladakh, and the outsize implications of reporting on something as small as a cracked windshield. Readers will be fascinated by the ways in which essays on conflict, conscience, memory, illness (Rachel Maddow’s essay on AIDS appears), and God overlap and resonate with one another.

These essays reflect those who are “sensitive to the sufferings and defects that confront a society yearning for guidance and eager to hear ethical voices,” writes Elie Wiesel. “And they are a beacon for what our schools must realize as an essential component of a true education.”

See what else she's been recommending.

Quarterback, Inspirational Figure and Now, Author

Over the course of the last five years, Tim Tebow established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football and a top prospect in the NFL. During that time he amassed an unparalleled resume—winning two BCS national championships, becoming the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman trophy, and in the face of massive public scrutiny, being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.

Now, in Through My Eyes, Tebow brings readers everywhere an inspirational memoir about life as he chose to live it, revealing how his faith and family values, combined with his relentless will to succeed, have molded him into the person that he is today. As the son of Christian missionaries, Tebow has a unique story to tell—from the circumstances of his birth, to his home-schooled roots, to his record-setting collegiate football career with the Florida Gators and everything else that took place in between.

At every step, Tebow's life has defied convention and expectation. While aspects of his life have been well-documented, the stories have always been filtered through the opinions and words of others. Through My Eyes is his passionate, firsthand, never-before-told account of how it all really happened.

Tim Tebow will be doing a booksigning at our Historic Lodo store on Saturday, June 4 from 4-6:00pm. 
This event is a booksigning only. Tim Tebow will not be making a presentation. A limited number of free tickets for a place in the booksigning line will be available with the purchase of Through My Eyes on Tuesday, May 31, beginning at 9:00 am, at any Tattered Cover location. Each ticket will admit one person into the booksigning line. Due to time constraints, Mr. Tebow will only sign his new book, one copy per ticketed customer. He will not be able to sign memorabilia, nor will he be able to personalize books. Photographs will be permitted from the booksigning line, but Tim will not be able to pose for photos. 

TC Tidbits:Check Out This Sci-Fi Exhibit at the British Library

from guardian.co.uk

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meet the Man and His Tome Today!

It’s 1897. Gold has been discovered in the Yukon. New York is under the sway of Hearst and Pulitzer. And in a few months, an American battleship will explode in a Cuban harbor, plunging the U.S. into war. Spanning five years and half a dozen countries, this is the unforgettable story of that extraordinary moment: the turn of the twentieth century, as seen by one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

Shot through with a lyrical intensity and stunning detail that recall Doctorow and Deadwood both, A Moment in the Sun takes the whole era in its sights—from the white-racist coup in Wilmington, North Carolina to the bloody dawn of U.S. interventionism in the Philippines. Beginning with Hod Brackenridge searching for his fortune in the North, and hurtling forward on the voices of a breathtaking range of men and women—Royal Scott, an African American infantryman whose life outside the military has been destroyed; Diosdado ConcepcĂ­on, a Filipino insurgent fighting against his country’s new colonizers; and more than a dozen others, Mark Twain and President McKinley’s assassin among them—this is a story as big as its subject: history rediscovered through the lives of the people who made it happen.

Read about his "DIY" book tour here.

Talk with Sayles TODAY at 2:00 pm at our  Colfax Avenue Store.

June's Dark Days of Supernatural Happening on inkpop.com:

Wednesday, June 1: There is a live chat with Josephine Angelia, author of Starcrossed.  Check in on inkpop.com to find out what time.

Thursday, June 2:  The Writing Challenge based on Veronica Roth's Divergent will kick off.  Get the details at inkpop.com.

Monday, June 6: There is a live chat with Tara Hudson, author of Hereafter.  Check in on inkpop.com to find out what time.

Oh Brother Is This A Good Book!

A must-read for anyone blessed with or burdened by a sibling, Mom Still Likes You Best explores the sometimes heartbreaking but always meaningful ties between brothers and sisters.

There’s a myth that good sibling relations do not include conflict, annoyance, resentment, or mixed feelings. Jane Isay argues that this is a destructive belief, one that makes people doubt the strength of their connection to those they grew up with. Siblings may love and hate, fight and forgive, but they never forget their early bonds.

Based on scores of interviews with people of all ages, Mom Still Likes You Best features real-life stories that show how differences caused by family feuds, marriages, distance, or ancient history can be overcome in adulthood. The result is a clear-eyed but compassionate portrait of brothers and sisters in love and war—and a celebration of the possibilities that even the most complicated sibling relationships can offer.

In her own words:
"'The greatest gift a parent can give a child,' one woman’s mother told her, “is a brother or sister.” If you find yourself nodding in agreement but also having reservations, you’re not alone.  Most people have experienced mixed feelings about their siblings over the years. Many of us have asked ourselves:
What kind of gift are siblings, if we fight with them and if they hurt our feelings?
How could we come from the same family and have such different values?
Who needs a brother or sister who isn’t there for Mom and Dad when they are old and need our help?

Ambivalence is at the heart of our sibling relationships. These positive and negative feelings are natural, and unavoidable. When we were kids and our parents were not around, we behaved like children to each other, which means we weren’t always nice. As adults, many of us recall those childhood experiences; they often become our iconic memories, and they can make us feel good or bad. I have learned that it is possible to reframe the childhood moments we cannot forgive or forget. We can begin to see our brothers and sisters through an adult perspective, if we so choose. Brothers and sisters who are close have already done this—they don’t idealize their siblings, and they can accept and laugh at the very behavior that drives other people crazy. It’s also possible to rebuild most broken relationships—if you want to. It takes a thread of love and lots of effort and determination, but over time you will be amazed at the results.

So if your relationship with brothers and sisters is complicated, welcome to the world. Once you relax into the reality of mixed emotions, you’ll stop suffering so much from the past and stop feeling so guilty about whatever you might have done. Maybe you can enjoy more of the positive, laugh at some of the negative, and make peace with the fact that human experience is something in between
So what is the gift of siblings? It’s the life-long quest for compromise, acceptance, and humor."

Listen to the NPR interview with the author.

TC Tidbit: The Casting for Baz Luhrmann's 3-D Gatsby Movie (So Far)

Nick Carraway – Tobey Maguire
Gatsby – Leonardo DiCaprio
Daisy – Carey Mulligan
Jordan Baker--Elizabeth Debicki

Ben Affleck recently stepped out of the role of Tom Buchanan due to scheduling conflicts.  There is a rumor, however, that Bradley Cooper might be up for the roll.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Now Out In Paperback, Jeannie Calls It "Incandescent"

An incredible publishing story--written over the course of 30 years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a "New York Times" bestseller for 16 weeks, a National Indie Next and a "USA TODAY" bestseller--Matterhorn is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood.

Jeannie says:
"This is set during the Vietnam War and follows a Marine unit, Bravo Company, during several battles in the bush around Matternhorn.  It is just superbly written, all of the characters, major and minor are indelibly drawn, seem like flesh & blood people whose fates you hold your breath for.  It's all there, the adrenalin and terror of battle, the politics of rank, lifers, reserves, desires for medals and glory, racism and the unbreakable bond of brothers in arms on the battlefield.  It's intense, heartbreaking, utterly real and incandescent."

Meet Hola and Marty

Bad Dog (A Love Story)
(A true story.)

Meet Hola. She’s a nightmare, but it’s not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Worse yet, she scares her family. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she’s never been trained. At least not by anyone who knew what he was doing.

Hola’s supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty’s in debt and out of shape; he’s about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he’s on the verge of losing his wife, Gloria, too, if he can’t get his life—and his dog—under control.

Desperately trying to save his marriage, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Unfortunately, he knows even less than Hola, the only dog ever to be expelled from her puppy preschool twice. Somehow, together, they need to get through the American Kennel Club’s rigorous Canine Good Citizen test. Of course, Hola first needs to learn how to sit.

It won’t be easy. It certainly won’t be pretty. But maybe, just maybe, there will be cheesecake.

TC Tidbit: There's Going to be a Movie of "The 39 Clues"!

"DreamWorks has set Brett Ratner to direct The 39 Clues, the live-action adaptation of the bestselling young-adult Scholastic Media book series, online game and card collection."

Read more about it here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cathy's Getting Crafty With Her Recommendations

The Simple Art of Japanese Papercrafts
Learn how to create 24 beautiful Japanese paper designs, step by step. The Simple Art of Japanese Papercrafts reveals the best of true Japanese design, focusing on understanding and using paper in a modern and authentic style to make beautiful gifts, decorations and more. Tokyo-born graphic designer Mari Ono reveals the top Japanese techniques - origami and embellishment - in a range of 24 projects, each with clear step-by-step images and easy-to-follow instructions. Also included are over 50 pieces of gorgeous origami paper to make all the projects. The projects range from contemporary ideas for greetings cards embellished with Oriental symbols of luck and love to traditional projects, such as folding paper to create a rabbit or a crane, as well as practical items including a handmade bento box. With tips and variations throughout, this is the book that will show you how to create truly authentic Japanese papercrafts using the best of papers and materials from the modern East.

World of Geekcraft
Geek meets craft in this fun collection of 25 kooky projects for geeks of any affiliation, from D&D dice earrings, Star Trek pillows, and Super Mario cross-stitch to Star Wars terrariums, a Morse code quilt, and much more! Organized by difficulty from "Not a Jedi Yet" to "Warp Speed," World of Geekcraft covers a range of popular crafting techniques including beading, quilting, appliqu , embroidery, and needle felting. Best of all, it's easy to get started with step-by-step instructions and handy templates included in the back of the book. With lots of photos and plenty of geekery throughout, this one-of-a-kind book shows that geek and craft go together like...pixels and cross-stitch!

Make Your Own Toys
Meet a mischievous piggy, dopey panda, rambunctious little bunny, a passel of monkeys, a proper penguin, and many more soon-to-be best friends of all shapes, sizes, and personalities in this irresistible guide, Make Your Own Toys. With simple-to-follow instructions and hand-drawn illustrations, artist and designer Sue Havens will help you make 22 unique stuffed toys that will endear and charm adults and kids alike.

 The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes
Buttery yellow from garden weeds or gorgeous garnet-red dye from flowers achieving stunning colors for your fabric, yarn, and other natural materials is almost as easy as boiling water, with ingredients as close as your spice cabinet and as plentiful as fallen leaves on an autumn day.

Through step-by-step instructions and color-saturated photographs, textile designer Sasha Duerr explains the basics of making and using natural plant dye, from gathering materials and making the dyes to simple ideas for how to use them.

Have a picnic on a sunny turmeric-yellow tablecloth, give a baby some adorable acorn-dipped booties, craft a set of stunning black-walnut pillows, or treat yourself to a little black(berry) dress. Experimenting with color has never been more tempting to try.

Gentle, sustainable, garden-to-garment practices will inspire knitters, sewers, and fabric lovers of all stripes to transform fiber, textiles, and even pre-loved clothes into works of art and to have a lot of fun in the process.

 Printing By Hand
It’s the natural inconsistencies—the accidental differences between one finished piece and another—that make hand-printed fabrics, papers, furniture, and works of art so interesting. The quirks are what show the maker’s intimate involvement in the process, and it’s that unique quality that first attracted textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin to hand-printing.

Even though decorative prints are more in vogue than ever, there was until now no up-to-date hand-printing guide—no single source explaining the tools and materials that are used today, or reflecting a contemporary aesthetic. Corwin has given us that guide.

Using step-by-step instructions and up-close photos, Corwin teaches crafters everything they need to know to master stamping, stenciling, and screen printing, from making their own printing devices to trouble-shooting when plans go awry. Her inimitable collection of projects ranges from stamped stationery and simple-to-sew pouches, to stenciled tote bags and furniture, to screen-printed bed linens and upholstery fabric. There’s even a silk-screened dog bed. The author has created original artwork for each project (full-size patterns are included in an envelope at the back of the book), so that every crafter can achieve the same beautiful results. Or maybe not quite the same. Remember: It’s the subtle differences that make hand-printing so special and alluring.

 Yarn Bombing
On city street corners, around telephone posts, through barbed wire fences, and over abandoned cars, a quiet revolution is brewing. "Knit graffiti" is an international guerrilla movement that started underground and is now embraced by crochet and knitting artists of all ages, nationalities, and genders. Its practitioners create stunning works of art out of yarn, then "donate" them to public spaces as part of a covert plan for world yarn domination.

Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti is the definitive guidebook to covert textile street art. This full-color DIY book features twenty kick-ass patterns that range from hanging shoes and knitted picture frames to balaclavas and gauntlets, teaching readers how to create fuzzy adornments for lonely street furniture. Along the way, it provides tips on how to be as stealthy as a ninja, demonstrates how to orchestrate a large-scale textile project, and offers revealing information necessary to design your own yarn graffiti tags. The book also includes interviews with members of the international community of textile artists and yarn bombers, and provides resources to help readers join the movement; it's also chock full of beautiful photographs and easy step-by-step instructions for knit and crochet installations and garments.
Join the yarn bombing revolution!

Amazing New Graffiti Book On The TC Art Shelves

Graffiti Alphabets
An international survey of graffiti and street art, and a unique typographical sourcebook as well.

Classic graffiti lettering and experimental typographical forms lie at the heart of street culture and have long inspired designers in many different fields. But graffiti artists, who tend to paint the same letters of their tag again and again, rarely design complete alphabets.

Claudia Walde spent over two years collecting alphabets by 154 artists from thirty countries to show the many different styles and approaches to lettering within the graffiti and street art cultures. All of the artists have roots in graffiti. Some are world renowned such as 123 Klan (Canada), Faith47 (South Africa), and Hera (Germany); others are lesser known or only now starting to emerge.

Each artist received the same instructions: design all twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet within the limits of a single page of the book. How they approached this task and selected the media with which to express their ideas was entirely up to them, and the results encompass not just street art but sketches, sculpture, digital art, and photography. 500 color illustrations

TC Tidbits: "Kevin" Made a Big Stir at the Cannes Film Festival

A film adaptation of Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin caused a lot of buzz at the Cannes Film Festival.  Tilda Swinton plays the mother who is trying to deal with horrific crime committed by the son she just can't bring herself to love.

Read more here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dispatch From The Field: Joe Says "This is an unforgettable book".

The Chronology of Water
By the time I finished this book, I felt like I had been engulfed in a flood, rolled over and over again, and thrown out onto a pebble beach, gasping for air, rejoicing to be alive. This is an unforgettable book. Lidia Yuknavitch writes about her life with a breathless intensity that sweeps the reader along the roaring rapids of Lidia's life. Abused by her father, raised by an alcoholic mother, saw her swim career fall by the wayside (first by the Olympic boycott, then by her own partying), and then drugs, alcohol and sex. Lots of all three. Marriages. Miscarriage. Sex, love and rebirth. Yuknavtich's style is unlike anything I've read. At times, non-linear, at times pure poetry, at times challenging the heteronormative, Christian mores of our society. And at all times, engrossing, accessible, personal and unforgettable. I was moved by every word of this book. Every sentence, everything. This is a book I've already got many of my friends lined up to read.


New Cookbooks That Caught Jackie's Eye

For Andrea Reusing—an award-winning chef, a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement, and a working mother—“cooking in the moment” simply means focusing on one meal at a time. Tender spring broccoli given a smoky char on the grill, a summer berry pudding with cold cream, or a cider-braised pork shoulder served with pan-fried apples on a frosty night—cooking and eating this way allows food in season to become the foundation of a full life. Cooking in the Moment is a rich, absorbing journey through a year in Reusing’s home kitchen as she cooks for family and friends using ingredients grown nearby.
When seasonality is reimagined as a grocery list rather than a limitation, everyday meals become cause for celebration—a whole week of fresh sweet corn; a blue moon autumn asparagus harvest; a rich, spicy soup made with the last few sweet potatoes of winter. Reusing seamlessly blends down-to-earth kitchen advice with delicious, doable recipes, including childhood favorites (chicken and dumplings), simple one-pot dinners (shrimp, pea, and rice stew), as well as feasts to satisfy a crowd (roast fresh ham with cracklings). And while the action takes place in North Carolina, the kinds of producers and places that animate these pages—farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, butchers, bakers, orchards, backyard henhouses, and fishing holes—can be found all over, producing the flavors that we crave.

With gorgeous photography throughout and more than 130 recipes, Cooking in the Moment will inspire cooks everywhere to embrace the flavors and bounty of each season.

Jackie says: This is one beautiful book!  Follow this link to see some of the gorgeous food porn, I mean photography, as well as a few sample recipes.

With a strong focus on using local produce and family time, Clodagh McKenna's new cookbook brings together recipes and ideas gathered from her years of travelling and taking notes. Packed with household tips as well as notes on food producers, farmers' markets, and favorite restaurants, cafes and bars, there are chapters on aperitifs, lunchbox ideas, baking, mid-week suppers, homemade fast food, and Sunday roasts, as well as preserving and edible gifts. Practical and popular, Clodagh's recipes include Fresh Mint Mojitos, Spiced Butternut Squash, Foccacia, Sunday Roast with all the Trimmings, Autumn Spiced Apple Chutney, and Hazelnut Fudge, and are as nutritious as they are delicious.

Jackie says: The recipes are amazing and the notes she spreads throughout the book make it an absolute delight to read.  Check out her website for her food blog and to sign up for her e-zine as well.  

There's a New Mashup in Town...

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.”

Thus begins The Meowmorphosis—a bold, startling, and fuzzy-wuzzy new edition of Kafka’s classic nightmare tale, from the publishers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!  Meet Gregor Samsa, a humble young man who works as a fabric salesman to support his parents and sister. His life goes strangely awry when he wakes up late for work and discovers that, inexplicably, he is now a man-sized baby kitten. His family freaks out: Yes, their son is OMG so cute, but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? And how can Gregor be so selfish as to devote all his attention to a scrap of ribbon? As his new feline identity threatens to eat away at his personality, Gregor desperately tries to survive this bizarre, bewhiskered ordeal by accomplishing the one thing he never could as a man: He must flee his parents’ house.

TC Tidbit: James Lee Burke

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Congratulations to the Winners of the First Ever Indie Booksellers Choice Awards!

The Windup Girl

The Instructions

The Singer's Gun



Guest Blogger Tiernan McKay Interviews Author Sarah Jio

A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

Sarah Jio's debut novel, The Violets of March, speaks to every woman who has ever felt a little lost in her own life. Just as Emily Wilson seemed to have it all together, her world starts to fall apart around a broken marriage. In an effort to redefine happiness and rediscover herself, she taps into the power of her past. Taking a break from her new life in New York leads her back to Bainbridge Island, where she dives into vivid childhood memories, and uncovers a family secret. By skillfully weaving Emily's painful present with her family's mysterious past, Jio takes the reader on a beautiful journey and asks the reader to consider the healing ability of the world around us.

TM - What is the background behind the plot of The Violets of March
SJ- I grew up near Bainbridge Island, Washington, where my book is set, and I spent many happy hours there as a child. I’ve always felt the island had a special quality, so when I sat down to write the book, this was the natural place for me. I’m also a huge fan of 1940s music and movies, so partially setting the novel in this decade worked for me (seriously, I grew up knowing more about Cary Grant movies than Tom Cruise movies!). But, ultimately, the inspiration for Violets came from a very special song I heard years ago on a jazz station in Seattle (KPLU 88.5 FM, in fact!). The song, The Waters of March by the late Susannah McCorkle, absolutely haunted me. I began to imagine a story that would suit the song, and voila, Violets was born. The early title for the novel was actually "The Waters of March," in fact!
TM- Briefly describe your own emotional journey in birthing this book.
SJ- Oh good question! As a mother of three little boys (one newborn!), the novel debut process does feel a little like new motherhood. I feel very protective of the story and its characters. I hope they are received well and loved in the way I love them. Silly, yes, but it’s very true. I always tell new writers that my best fiction-writing advice is to not start writing a story that you aren’t 100 percent captivated by. If you do not love your characters, agents, editors and readers will be able to tell. So just as I love my kids, I love my stories and characters.

TM - What did you learn about yourself as a writer in the process? 
SJ- My novels (my second, The Bungalow, will be out in April 2012) tend to include a mix of love and mystery, and this combo really works for me. It keeps me engaged and it gets me emotionally involved with the characters in the way I hope readers will too.

TM - I love how you allow Emily the freedom and courage to find herself in an honest way. Speak to the importance of doing so, as a woman.
SJ - This is such an interesting thing to think about. I really loved showing Emily, an accomplished person and writer, fumbling in life. We all fumble. We all make mistakes and second-guess ourselves. Emily finds that she has to face her demons, fears, and a mysterious past, for her to overcome the issues in her life. That’s something that I can identify with, and I suspect a lot of others can too.
Connect with Sarah on her web site: www.sarahjio.com and follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sarahjio

Everything Has A Price on the Red Market

An in-depth report that takes readers on a shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market.

Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years on the ground tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body parts—a vast hidden economy known as the "red market." From the horrifying to the ridiculous, he discovers its varied forms: an Indian village nicknamed "Kidneyvakkam" because most of its residents have sold their kidneys for cash; unscrupulous grave robbers who steal human bones from cemeteries, morgues, and funeral pyres for anatomical skeletons used in Western medical schools and labs; an ancient temple that makes money selling the hair of its devotees to wig makers in America—to the tune of $6 million annually.

The Red Market reveals the rise, fall, and resurgence of this multibillion-dollar under­ground trade through history, from early medical study and modern universities to poverty-ravaged Eurasian villages and high-tech Western labs; from body snatchers and surrogate mothers to skeleton dealers and the poor who sell body parts to survive. While local and international law enforcement have cracked down on the market, advances in science have increased the demand for human tissue—ligaments, kidneys, even rented space in women's wombs—leaving little room to consider the ethical dilemmas inherent in the flesh-and-blood trade.

At turns tragic, voyeuristic, and thought-provoking, The Red Market is an eye-opening, surreal look at a little-known global industry and its implications for all our lives.

Read the wired.com article by Carney detailing the price ranges of various body parts.

TC Tidbits: Coming Out in September 2011

Deer in the Headlights
Levi Johnston sets out to clear his name, shed light on the Palins, and take us all up to Wasilla to see what it is like to grow up in Alaska.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jackie's Impressed with the New Edition to Kim Harrison's Madison Avery Series

Something Deadly This Way Comes
This is the third book in best selling Harrison's Madison Avery YA 
series.  Madison was a normal teenager until she died on prom night. 
Now she's a Dark Timekeeper who works for Heaven--she tells the Dark Reapers when to go and get a soul.  However, she's not crazy about the policies around this, and she's actually fighting with the Seraphim for the ability to help more humans before their souls are reaped.  It's not as religion oriented as it sounds--it's very action packed 
and has not small amount of Harrison's cheeky humor (and very little 
of her trademark sexiness--she saves that for The Hallows series for 
adults).  There is a strong current of morality, responsibility,  initiative and being true to yourself throughout this whole series  that is uplifting as well as entertaining.  I highly recommend the  entire series.


April Loves This Deftly Drawn Period Piece

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle.

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters—the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle—she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.

At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers—think Toni Morrison with The Bluest EyeJones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.

Listen to the NPR interview with the author.

April says:
"Imagine being five and sitting on your father's knee.  It is a pleasant idea, right?  Now, imagine that your father has just had an argument with your mother about a picture you drew in school of your family, and he has promised to be nice while he explains to you that you are not supposed to draw pictures of your family because that other wife and daughter of your father's don't know you exist.

The picture in question was drawn by Dana Lynn Yarboro, one of the two narrators in Silver Sparrow.  In one section of the picture, Dana has depicted herself, her mother, her father, and her Uncle Raleigh.  In another section, in a very separate part of the page, Dana has drawn Laverne and Chaurisse, her father's legal wife and daughter.

This scene sets the tone and characters for the book perfectly.  Dana is acutely aware of her half-sister while Chaurisse lives an average life in 1980s Atlanta.  It is a period piece that so deftly draws the reader in a time, space, and frame of mind that when one surfaces from Jones' prose it might be hard to draw the line between truth and fiction."

Meet the Author Tonight !!!

The Final Storm opens a new front in Jeff Shaara’s gripping chronicle of World War II as soldiers, sailors, and marines sacrifice all for one final push toward decisive victory in the fierce maelstrom of the Pacific theater.

As the war in Europe winds down in the wake of the Normandy invasion, the United States has turned its vast military resources toward an all-out effort against the Japanese. In the spring of 1945, Japan’s empire has been pressed slowly back toward its home islands, and the Americans mount a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan itself—the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire war, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered than experience the shame of surrender.

With a narrative dexterity befitting his status as a master storyteller, Shaara relates the story of the struggle for Okinawa through the eyes of combatants on both sides: Private Clay Adams, a young marine whose brother Jesse has already earned his share of glory as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne in Europe; Admiral Chester Nimitz, who must unite rival army and marine commanders into a cooperative effort; General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., the American ground commander trying to live up to the legacy of his father, who led Confederate troops during the Civil War; and General Mitsura Ushijima, the Japanese general in charge of defending the island, who understands what Tokyo will not believe: that his own fight to the death will only delay the inevitable—as the Americans continue their advance toward the home islands and ultimate victory.

With the fights raging across the Pacific, a different kind of campaign is being waged in extraordinary secrecy: the development of a weapon so powerful, not even the scientists who build it know just what they are about to unleash. Colonel Paul Tibbets, one of the finest bomber pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is selected to lead the mission to drop the horrific new weapon on a Japanese city. As the new president, Harry S Truman, mulls his options, and a Japanese physician named Okiro Hamishita cares for patients at a clinic near the city of Hiroshima, citizens on the home front await the day of reckoning that everyone knows is coming.

A fitting conclusion to one of the most riveting sagas in military fiction, The Final Storm illuminates the heroism and sacrifice that defined the war in the Pacific, bringing the conflict to life as only Jeff Shaara can.

TONIGHT at 7:30 pm at our Highlands Ranch Store:
Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels. Shaara will read from and sign his new historical novel The Final Storm ($28.00 Ballantine), which opens a new front in his gripping chronicle of World War II as soldiers, sailors, and marines sacrifice all for one final push toward decisive victory in the fierce maelstrom of the Pacific theater. Free numbered tickets for a place in the book signing line will be handed out at 6:30 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

TC Tidbit: J. Patrick Lewis Named Children's Poet Laureate

The Poetry Foundation has announced that J. Patrick Lewis has been selected as its new Children’s Poetry Laureate. Presented to Lewis on Wednesday in a ceremony at the foundation’s Chicago headquarters, the award entails a two-year tenure and includes a $25,000 cash prize. The laureateship aims to raise awareness that children have a natural receptivity to poetry, especially when poems are written specifically for them.

Read the whole article here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Book That Inspired The Latest Pirates of the Caribbean Movie

Aboard the Vociferous Carmichael, puppeteer John Chandagnac is sailing toward Jamaica to claim his stolen birthright from an unscrupulous uncle, when the vessel is captured . . . by pirates! Offered a choice by Captain Phil Davies to join their seafaring band or die, Chandagnac assumes the name John Shandy and a new life as a brigand. But more than swashbuckling sea battles and fabulous plunder await the novice buccaneer on the roiling Caribbean waters–for treachery and powerful vodun sorcery are coins of the realm in this dark new world. And for the love of beautiful, magically imperiled Beth Hurwood, Shandy will set sail on even stranger tides, following the savage, ghost-infested pirate king, Blackbeard, and a motley crew of the living and the dead to the cursed nightmare banks of the fabled Fountain of Youth.

Read the galleycat.com interview with the author.

Dispatches From The Field: Joe Says This Book Is "visceral, sensual, and violent "

Considered to be Antonio Lobo Antunes's masterpiece, The Land at the End of the World--now in a new and fully restored translation by acclaimed translator Margaret Jull Costa--recounts the anguished tale of a Portuguese medic haunted by memories of war, who, like the Ancient Mariner, will tell his tale to anyone who listens. In the tradition of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lobo Antunes weaves words into an exhilarating tapestry, imbuing his prose with the grace and resonance of poetry. The narrator, freshly returned to Lisbon after his hellish tour of duty in Angola, confesses the traumas of his memory to a nameless lover. Their evening unfolds like a fever dream, as Lobo Antunes leaps deftly back and forth from descriptions of postdictatorship Portugal to the bizarre and brutal world of life on the front line. The result is both tragic and absurd, and belongs among the great war novels of the modern age.

Learn more about Antunes and his fascinating background.

Joe says:
"Dear Reader, please, sit down. May I offer you a glass of cognac? Perhaps a whisky? Sit down, now, and let yourself get carried away by Lobo Antunes' The Land At The End Of The World. The narrator, a Lisbon doctor drafted into the Portuguese army to aid those aiming to squelch the Angola war of independence, tells his monologue to a woman he meets in a bar one late evening in Lisbon. The doctor has witnessed the utter futility of war, the constant presence of blood and death and fear. He has missed his homeland that he now despises. He has despised himself, his leaders, the war and most human desires. He lives an existence that begins late in the day in a bar and ends in the cold embrace of lovemaking with a stranger. He exists plagued by the bony-fingered shadow of a war without purpose. He is a man, who having participated in such a war, can no longer participate in the society for which it was supposedly fought. 

The action of the book takes place over the course of one night, but steeped in the weight of the narrator's memories. After each chapter, I emerged, as if from a dream, rising up from the waters to catch my breath, before slipping back into the world Lobo Antunes creates with his words. The poetry of this book is unlike many other books I have read. At times, the narrator's images, metaphors, similes rise up, coiling each of my limbs, pulling them in a different direction, only to find myself sitting in the bar beside the narrator as he proffers me another drink. And I gladly take that drink and let myself be led back into the fantastic world in which he describes his, and I realize, my own, state. 

The Land At The End Of The World is not a book to quickly read and easily forget. It's a visceral, sensual, and violent book, that lingers after its completion. It's a book that I want others to read so we can sit down with drinks in a lush and stale bar and talk of the futility of war, the death in sex, the hate in love."

Take A Journey Through the Madness Industry With the Author of "The Men Who Stare At Goats"

In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.

The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.

Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

TC Tidbits: Win Cannie's Hollywood Getaway!

Enter to win on Jennifer Weiner's Facebook page.