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Talulla Rising

If you were a fan of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf, then you're in for a treat with his new companion novel, Talulla Rising. Duncan left readers with slain Jake's lover, Talulla, pregnant and on the run at the end of his first book and now we begin her story. Without the man she loves and an uncertain future—one fraught with dangers she hasn't even begun to understand—Talulla must protect herself and her baby at all costs, for their fates will determine whether werewolves were ever meant to exist in the world.

We have a limited number of "black-edged" signed first editions of TALULLA RISING available, so get 'em while they're hot!

- Angela Maria Williams

Talulla Rising (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780307595096
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Knopf, 6/2012

A Hologram for the King

Alan Clay, the hero of Dave Eggers’ sad, funny, and very moving novel, is a 54 year old corporate survivor on a mission to Saudi Arabia to make a pitch to King Abdullah in order to secure a contract to provide the IT for the under-construction King Abdullah Economic City.  As each day goes by and the king fails to appear, Alan and his team languish in their seaside tent waiting.  A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s, $25) is a character-driven story of a man in crisis, deeply in debt and unable to pay his daughter’s college tuition.  It’s also a serious meditation on the decline of American power, economic and political.  It’s a thought-provoking novel but also a hugely entertaining one.  It’s already received a well-deserved New York Times rave review and promises to be one of the most talked about books of the summer.

We have a limited number of signed first editions.

  • Mark LaFramboise
ISBN-13: 9781936365746
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: McSweeney's, 6/2012

On Exhibit 06/20/2012

The exhibit: through October 8.
The catalog: George Bellows (National Gallery of Art/Prestel, $60)


As you walk from room to room in the George Bellows retrospective at the National Gallery, you experience the many worlds that Bellows depicted (beyond his famous boxing paintings), all done with some of the most virtuoso brushwork in American art. Bellows’s brushstrokes anticipated the free-form vibrancy of de Kooning, but he combined it with observation skills and visual reportage worthy of Daumier and Goya.

You will see Bellows work that you’ve never seen: leisurely promenaders in winter; tenement kids playing; tender portraits of his wife and daughters; roiling seascapes; and powerful anti-war and anti-lynching prints. His paintings of the Pennsylvania Station excavations have the haunted look of the World Trade Center site. Look closely again at his confident pencil and brush-marks. Bellows died young at age forty-two.

The catalog has twelve prominent essays by curators and historians, each of whom address one of Bellows’s subjects: boxing, working, tenement life, political illustrations, “War, 1918,” “life of leisure,” “life by the river,” “life at sea.” There is a visual diary, as well as 270 illustrations.

  • András Goldinger

George Bellows (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9783791351872
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Prestel Publishing, 8/2012

On Exhibit 06/14/2012



Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape (Thames & Hudson, $60), edited by Marko Daniel and Matthew Gale

There is a fantastic Miró retrospective at the National Gallery of Art through August 12. Titled Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, it covers the entirety of the artist’s career—from his folk-inspired Catalan farm scenes to the outburst of his symbolic shapes—and his artistic reaction to the tumultuous and horrific decades of dictatorship and war in Spain and in Europe. Paintings, prints, collages, posters, murals and sculptures abound—Miró’s creative energy never flagged, whether at home or in exile.

The Constellations CD

My favorite part of the Miró exhibit is the wall crowded with 10 of the 23 “Constellation” paintings Miro created in 1940 and 1941. It’s a rare opportunity to see so many of these paintings, aflutter with animated creatures.

In 2002, percussionist Bobby Previte released the wonderful CD, The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró (Tzadik, $16.98), a perfect complement to the catalog and the exhibit.

It is a suite—one song inspired by each of the Constellations—played by an outstanding group of players. Previte’s huge array of tuned percussion—vibes, marimbas, orchestral chimes—suffuse the songs in shimmering tones. Soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute, trumpet, flugelhorn, celeste, organ, and harp add beautiful tonal colors.

The CD comes with a 36-page, full-color booklet which reproduces all 23 Constellations.

  • András Goldinger
ISBN-13: 9780500093672
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Thames & Hudson, 5/2012

2012 Pulitzer Prizes

The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes

We had chosen all of these books as favorites last year. Read on to see our reviews for the Fiction nominees, and Non-Fiction and Poetry winners. We also have added selected commentators' perspectives about the judges' controversial decision to decline to name a Fiction winner. Maureen Corrigan offered what we thought were very reasonable suggestions

If the board, which received our three nominations in early December, is unhappy with the jury’s choices, then why not request that the jury put forward alternative selections?

And, finally, how about changing the rules so that the winner is determined by a plurality, rather than a majority of votes on the board. (And — Hello! — given that there are 18 voting members of the Pulitzer board, perhaps one more body should be added to break any potential ties.)

Maureen Corrigan of Georgetown University and Fresh Air in The Washington Post

Susan Larson of NPR in the Christian Science Monitor 

Lev Grossman in Time Magazine

Ann Patchett in The New Yorker 

What do you think? Add your comment below.



National Book Award-winner Denis Johnson’s compact and intense Train Dreams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18) tells the story of Robert Granier, who spent his life from the early 1900s through the early 1960s working on lumber crews in Idaho and Montana. After losing his wife and daughter in a fire, Granier led a mostly solitary life homesteading and dealing with the enormous changes taking place around him, such as the advent of the automobile and the airplane. Rather than tell the story of a man’s life in exhaustive detail, Johnson captures the totality of Granier’s life by detailing just a few experiences over the course of his lifetime. Granier never lets go of the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, and their passing merges in his mind with local folklore. Johnson’s character study reveals the essence of an ordinary man, and in that very ordinariness lies his glory. Mark LaFramboise

ISBN-13: 9780374281144
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9/2011

Ava wants to wrestle alligators like her mother, Hilola Bigtree. Her sister Ossie, short for Osseola, is in love with a ghost. Her brother Kiwi has left home to work for the Bible themed amusement Park on the mainland. The plot is a bit eccentric, but the story of the Bigtree family should be recognizable to anyone who is part of an even slightly unusual family (and who isn’t). Full of imagination, humor and heartbreak, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Vintage, $14.95) ranges the gamut of emotions from stunned silence to belly laughs. –- Mark LaFramboise

Swamplandia! (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780307276681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 7/2011

The Pale King, by the late David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown, $27.99; Back Bay, $16.99), stretched the possibilities of the novel as a genre and conveyed humanity upon even the faceless drones in the hated Internal Revenue Service. It was meant to be as ambitious an undertaking as his earlier 1000-page Infinite Jest, and while the book lacks his usual complexity and leaves aspects of the plot unfinished, for most of his audience the form and style will be entirely familiar, incomplete only in the perfection for which David was striving. Through these fragments, Wallace’s skill shines through in two central themes: the desire to find heroic purpose even in the tedium of ordinary life, and the struggle to see beyond one’s own blinkered perspective to connect with one's fellow human beings. – Andrew Getman


The Pale King (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780316074223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books, 4/2012

The winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Life on Mars (Graywolf, $15), by Tracy K. Smith, is poetry with a David Bowie soundtrack, While sampling some of Bowie’s lyrics, Smith’s third collection is a deftly crafted, thoughtful consideration of existence on Earth and beyond. In lines at once musical and muscular, Smith has composed an extended elegy for her father, who worked on the Hubble telescope. As matters of science, grief, and faith inform each other, Smith wonders ”is God being or pure force? The wind / or what commands it?”; in other poems she uses vivid cosmic imagery to speculate on whether loss of a life here is balanced by the existence of life out there. - Laurie Greer

Life on Mars: Poems (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781555975845
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press, 4/2011


Encyclopedic in its approach, Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking, $30; Penguin, $18) provides the most comprehensive and penetrating portrait yet of the legendary black activist. Marable, a historian who died on the eve of this book’s publication, drew on diaries, letters, FBI and CIA documents, and interviews with people who had been silent for decades. He peels away the layers of myth that have arisen around Malcolm as a result of Malcolm’s own memoir and the efforts of both supporters and opponents after his assassination in 1965 at the age of 39. The result is a biography that meticulously charts the complex and contradiction-filled evolution of Malcolm’s political and religious beliefs and also sets Malcolm’s life within the larger context of 20th-century racial developments. Bradley Graham

ISBN-13: 9780143120322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 1/2012


In George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin Press, $39.95), John Lewis Gaddis looks into the life of the man credited with the creation of America’s foreign policy during the Cold War. George Kennan is best known for the “Long Telegram” and “X Article” which set forth the strategy of containment that America adopted with considerable success. This period in American international relations has been dissected at length, but Gaddis’s is the first book to discuss Kennan’s personal life. Drawing on private journals and countless interviews, Gaddis profiles the man behind the policies with the detail and compassion that are essential to any biography. Jenny Clines

ISBN-13: 9781594203121
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 11/2011

General Nonfiction

The world into which Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things was reborn in 1417 felt threatened by the ideas expressed there. But The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W.W. Norton, $26.95) history took in this event, from a God-centered to a material conception of the universe, influenced subsequent thinkers and changed the course of Western culture. In his riveting and suspenseful story of those ideas and their rediscovery, the eminent scholar Stephen Greenblatt, author of the popular Will in the World, recounts how Poggio Bracciolini, a canny and ruthless papal apparatchik, but also an intrepid book hunter with exquisite handwriting, found the only surviving copy of this classical masterpiece secreted in a remote German monastery. Greenblatt, himself heir to the humanistic turn effected by the surfacing of On the Nature of Things, has made narrative central to our understanding of literature and culture and unfailingly finds anecdotes that catch the reflected light of an entire cosmos.

ISBN-13: 9780393064476
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 10/2011

Booknotes 03/22/2012

Two reviews from Barbara Meade

booknoteWhile I was reading Ahmed Rashid’s new book, Pakistan on the Brink (Viking, $26.95), I recollected a novel I had read about six months ago that takes place in the Northern Tribal Area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Never have I more fully understood the saying, “all politics is local,” than I did in reading this beautiful short novel, The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Riverhead, $25,95). The power of the family, the power of the tribe, and the power of religious belief and ancestral codes all pervade this entirely sad and moving story and in doing so, remarkably convey more about the barriers to peace in this region than any nonfiction history or current events titles. Publishers Weekly wrote about this novel: “A shadowy, enchanting journey…A gripping book, as important for illuminating the current state of this region as it is timeless in its beautiful imagery and rhythmic prose.”

Click here to listen to a wonderful interview with Jamil Ahmad on NPR’s "Morning Edition"

Another short but hypnotic novel, The Sickness ($14.95), has just been published by Tin House Books, a small literary press in Portland. After reading the first chapter I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty of the writing, The author, Alberto Barrera Tyszka, is a Venezuelan writer and journalist and his book is translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. It’s difficult for me to know whether the luminosity in the writing comes from the original language or its translation, but whichever it is, The Sickness was shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The story revolves around a father-son relationship in which both are doctors who have been committed to being open and forthright with their patients about their diagnoses and prognoses, but when the son receives confirmation of his father’s terminal lung cancer, his filial devotion turns into an open conflict with his medical ethics. It’s the moral ambiguities that make this novel interesting but lyrical turns of the prose that make it radiant.

- Barbara Meade

Lapham’s Quarterly - Spring 2012

Edited and published by Lewis H. Lapham, a former editor of Harper’s Magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly ($15) boasts a rich and historical retinue of essays, stories and poems, some written specifically for each volume and others added from thousands of years of the literary canon. Despite its relative youth in the world of magazine literature, Lapham’s Quarterly has already established a prestigious history (4 years in, it already possesses a nomination for the National Magazine Award, alongside such fantastic names like The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Sun).

Its newest edition “Means of Communication,” does not disappoint. In Mr. Lapham’s Preamble, our editor recognizes that “new means of communication give rise to new structures of feeling and thoughts.” His inventory of contributors ranges from the Greek philosopher Lucretius to the contemporary novelist Toni Morrison.

Click here for more.

-Anders T. Rosen