|Booklover ever since my mother read "Fox in Socks" to me every night as a child. Yes, her tongue was, eventually, numb. Left graduate school just to work in a bookstore. Managed Borders stores in Braintree & Concord when the chain was still "a collection of fine stores" & strived to make them a wonderful place to both work & shop. When not selling books, I'm often reading them: mostly experimental fiction, avant-garde poetry, and nature books. Sometimes graphic novels. Sometimes memoirs. And, with the help of my oldest daughter, I have a good handle on what young adult novels are "so so good!"|
Paul's January 2015 pick
Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, by George Monbiot
A fascinating exploration into the attempts to rewild the earth, bringing wolves back to Yellowstone & mountain lions to the Rockies, amongst many other projects. Monbiot discusses not just the geographical but also the emotional aspects of such a rewilding, and how it helps humans to reconnect with the world around them.
Tracy and Paul's joint September 2014 pick
what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe
What if a former NASA roboticist found a way to talk about scientific facts and principles by answering crazy, silly questions and illustrating the responses with stick-figure cartoons? And what if he was so good at this that thousands of devoted fans couldn’t help but laugh out loud as they read his creatively constructed, scientific answers?
Creator of the popular website xkcd, Randall Munroe brings intelligence and wit to the printed page with what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Appropriate for everyone from tweens to adults, what if? will have you following friends and family around the house so you can read them excerpts from the book. You’ll learn how much Force power Yoda can really output, and “what would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light.” (Nothing good.) You’ll wonder why the science classes you took in school were nothing like this. And you’ll consider emailing xkcd to ask when Munroe’s next book is coming out.
Paul's April 2014 pick
Over Easy by Mimi Pond
A fascinating, sometimes laconic, sometimes frenetic exploration of the California of the 1970s, this graphic novel grapples with the drama of growing up in a funny, light-hearted yet strangely moving way. The drawing is as affecting as the storyline. The characters will eerily remind you of friends, or friends of friends, who you end up liking despite everything you learn about them. Pond also has an excellent ear for dialogue & a fine eye for obscure details of diners & dilapidated apartments. The way she captures the transformation of the counter-culture from hippies to punks is brilliant enough to serve as a history lesson for those who were born after “God Save the Queen” conquered radio. You should read this book & revisit the shag carpeting & recreational sex era, when run-down diners could be the place to go for those with nothing better to do than feel alive!
Paul's January 2014 pick
Correspondences by Anne Michaels & Bernice Eisenstein
This accordion-style book combines the mesmerizing wordplay of Anne Michael's long poem chronicling both the historical & personal experience of life in the 20th-century with the haunting portraits of Bernice Eisenstein of that same century's seminal thinkers. At once poignant & reassuring, humbling & uplifting, this book transcends making connections to reflect the interconnectedness of lived experience, both of individuals & cultures. The unfolding of the volume also allows for a changed perspective on the reading process itself. It allows us a rare glimpse into the immutable,
"the moment one life
and the whole world changes and few notice it.
Paul's November 2013 pick
Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
A mesmerizing tale of love lost & found & lost again, full of tenderness and the throbbing tumult of being young & besotted, in this case with another woman with blue hair. The artwork compliments the story perfectly. And makes you want to meet these characters out in the real world!
Paul's August 2013 pick
This memoir recounts the terrifying moments of the 2004 Tsunami, and its long harrowing aftermath. In prose both brittle & searing, broken & luminous, transformative & disturbing, Deraniyagala pieces together a brutally honest account of the furious & wretched days and months and years she struggled to come to terms with what happened to her & her world on the day after Christmas in 2004. She careens from ceaselessly trying to erase memories of her happy life before the tidal wave, to relentlessly trying to remember every last thing that occurred before it. This book is so mesmerizing, equally difficult to pick up its painful shards as it is to put them down again.
Paul's March 2013 pick
Sky Ward by Kazim Ali
A linguistic soaring collection of new poems from Ali, this collection explores desperation and desire and grace through word- and space-play, but remain grounded in the most daily human experiences. The candor and unease riffling the surface of these poems makes their beauty all the more startling.
Paul's December 2012 pick
Hunger Mountain by David Hinton
A series of walks up the mountain outside his back door provides Hinton with an opportunity to examine how the study of Chinese landscape painting, poetry, and his own family life have shaped his own world view. Both poetic and down-to-earth, this small book offers vast rewards, from ruminations on the origins of the cosmos to the transient beauty of a falling snowflake.
Paul's November 2012 pick
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane
Throughout this mesmerizing book, Macfarlane chronicles numerous journeys, most on foot, a few by boat, following the old ways, the trails & pathways used down through the centuries to take people from place to place a back again. It is a book haunted by the landscapes & seascapes of the past, but always look forward to what we will learn from them in the unknowable future. An Odyssey for the post-modern world.
Paul's July 2012 pick
A meditation on the mystery & beauty contained within a simple human life, Maso's new novel chronicles the wanderings of a mother & child through untamed & wonderous landscapes, both of the mind & of the earth.
It is an awesome book! Read it soon!
Paul's June 2012 pick
Love, an Index by Rebecca Lindenberg
A multifarious collection of serial poems linked by sadness & joy & longing, as well as the details of the poet's relationship with another poet, who disappears while hiking a volcano. Lindenberg's voice both sings of & matter-of-factly recounts their love, her loss, and one way to go on living even though haunted.
Paul's April 2012 pick
A fascinating chronicle of a woman coming to terms with her life on the pacific crest trail, learning the true meaning of "putting one foot in front of the other" as a guide to living.
Paul's February 2012 pick
A fascinating meditation on the fraught territory between fact and fiction, truth and accuracy, knowledge and entertainment, this slim book chronicles the development of an essay written by D'Agata through the questioning & clarifying feedback provided by Fingal. Wonderfully insightful, it's also beautifully arranged on the page.
Paul's January 2012 pick
A beautiful ink-washed graphic novel set in San Francisco, with many of the geographical landmarks of the bay area making an appearance, the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, the Mission District, in which the collaboration between image & text is fraught with provisional meaning. All the panels are devoid of people, but never of life. Moving in a slow uncertain tender way.
Paul's November 2011 pick
A fascinating approach to the telling of history, using objects left behind by ordinary men & women to chronicle the passing of the world's civilizations. Kaleidoscopic & endlessly surprising. The photographs of the objects are as illuminating as the stories themselves.