Once again, new books take the spotlight as we bask in the aftereffects of what NPR called the “blockbuster week” of the literary world. Borders and Barnes and Noble have already had a heyday with the release of the new Dan Brown book and the announcement of Oprah Winfrey’s latest Book Club pick, but as usual, our favorite indie bookstores have some more unique news.
Events: Chop Suey Books’ $2 Deal of the week is John Irving’s A Widow for One Year, the inspiration behind the film The Door in the Floor. Ruth Cole is the only remaining child after the death of her older brothers, an event which causes her father to turn to alcohol and her mother to fade away completely, leaving Ruth with a lonely and emotionally traumatizing childhood. The novel tells the tale of Ruth’s life in three sections in Irwing’s typical simultaneously sad and humorous style. The deal is available in both paperback and hardback and lasts until Thursday.
If you’re into wildlife, particularly birds, be sure not to miss Lynda Haupt’s visit to Square One Books this Thursday, where she’ll be discussing her newest book “Crow Planet”. Lynda has a vast experience with wildlife around the country, from rehabilitating raptors to researching seabirds, but in the latest novel she focuses on what she learned about the behavior of crows in her neighborhood, with tidbits about the mysterious, almost otherworldly presence crows have had throughout history and mythology.
New Literature: If you’ve heard all you can take about Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol this week, never fear – So have we. As the name suggests, indie bookstores enjoy a walk on the less beaten path, and our blogroll has a few alternatives.
Green Apple Books has a few recommendations that promise to be just as thrilling as Dan Brown’s book. American Fantastic Tales is a collection of 86 classic American Gothic stories, with authors both old and new including Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, and many more. A new translation of Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornografia presents an amusing and exciting tale of “murder, sexual predation, intrigue, and lusty farmhands”. Lastly, Jerusalem by new Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares, due out October 20th, is an intriguing tale about the interconnected lives of strangers that explores the notions of fate.
If you’ve had enough of action and just want to read some good nonfiction, Newtonville Books recommends NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman: an eye-opening look at the way today’s children are raised that reveals “why our culture of excessive praise meant to encourage a child, actually hurts the child…how classic ways of encouraging truthfulness in children, only show them how to be better liars….that at elite gifted programs and private schools, admissions officers choose the wrong kids 73% of the time” (via Newtonville Books Blog).
For short stories and more, Broadway Books just received the “Best American” series for 2009, which gives its readers the best of a variety of topics from essays, travel writing, sports writing, mystery stories, etc…There’s something here for everyone. They’re also edited by a variety of well-known authors. Read more at their Bookbroads.
Other: As you’ve probably heard by now, Oprah made her 63rd Book Club pick: Say You’re One of Them by Nigerian writer Uwem Akpan. “It is the first short story collection she’s chosen, and Akpan is the first living African writer featured in her club” (via Newtonville Books Blog).
Read about why NPR thinks that Dan Brown’s new book has saved the publishing industry here (via Powell’s Books Blog).