NeverEnding Stories – The March Edition

The joy of running a bookshop is the joy of of always discovering books that I need to read.   I was always one of those people (I prefer the term ‘gently mad’ as coined by Nicholas Basbanes) who would buy at least three books a week, slowly stock-piling and collecting.  I loved touching the covers and contemplating for long stretches of time which of them were coming home with me.

The joy of visiting bookshops and the joy of selecting new and secondhand books for my shop is a tactile, deep time, where I lose everything else.  The book holds its sway.  Now, I would like to share monthly lists of new and secondhand books that I plan on reading and collecting for my personal library in 2012.  Read on!

All books are now -or soon to be- in the shop.  I also am happy to ship to our out-of-town friends!


The Great Frustration by Seth Fried

Channeling Steven Millhauser by way of George Saunders, The Great Frustration is a sparkling debut, equal parts fable and wry satire. Seth Fried balances the dark—a town besieged, a yearly massacre, the harem of a pathological king—with moments of sweet optimism—researchers unexpectedly inspired by discovery, the triumph of a doomed monkey, the big implications found in a series of tiny creatures.

Fried’s stories suggest that we are at our most compelling and human when wrestling with the most frustrating aspects of both the world around us and of our very own natures—and in the process shows why he is a talent to be watched.


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead–and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.


The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

A spectacularly original thriller about a professional torturer who has a strict code, a mysterious past, and a dangerous conviction that he can save the life of an innocent child.

Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor is a completely unique thriller that introduces both an unforgettable protagonist and a major new talent in Mark Allen Smith.


Night Swim by Jessica Keener                       (In-store Appearance April 12th!)

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable – a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children – but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family.  In a story that will make you laugh and cry, Night Swim shows how a family, bound by heartache, learns to love again.


Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed 

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.


The Odds by Stewart O’Nan 

Jobless, nearly homeless, and with their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland home for one last Valentine’s Day hurrah at Niagara Falls. Their days are spent sightseeing, but at night they risk what dwindling resources they have left at the roulette wheel to fix their finances.

A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances. The Odds is a reminder that love and life are always a gamble.


Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts by Donald Barthelme

A Small Civil War examines book censorship through the eyes of two sisters growing up in much the same direction although on often comically divergent paths. Georgia Van Buren at 13 knows where she stands on any given issue, even those she knows next to nothing about. Her more deliberate sister needs time to examine, study and decide in this tale of censorship and division.


The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposites in every way: Twenty-eight-year-old Emily is the CEO of Veritech, twenty-three-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily is rational and driven, while Jess is dreamy and whimsical. Emily’s boyfriend, Jonathan, is fantastically successful. Jess’s boyfriends, not so much.

This is a delicious novel about appetite, temptation, and holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays.


Madonna Swan:  A Lakota Woman’s Song as told by Mark St. Pierre

In Madonna Swan: A Lakota Woman’s Story, Mark St. Pierre skillfully weaves together his interviews with Madonna Swan-Abdulla to capture the indomitable spirit of a Lakota woman as she celebrates the joys and endures the sufferings of her remarkable life on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.


The Secrets of Harry Bright by Joseph Wambaugh

Seventeen months ago the California desert revealed the remains of Jack Watson. The rich man’s son was found incinerated in a Rolls-Royce, a bullet in his head. Now, a year and a half later, Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Sidney Blackpool is called into the desert to take on the case. But what begins for Blackpool is an investigation sandwiched between golf games in nearby Palm Springs quickly becomes an obsession.

For the savage beauty of the wastelands holds man secrets. Secrets that stir up Blackpool’s long suppressed nightmares of his own son’s death. Secrets that threaten to destroy an entire police department. Secrets that, by rights, should remain forever buried by the wind in the ageless desert sands.


Funeral Rites by Jean Genet

Genet’s sensual and brutal portrait of World War II France unfolds between the poles of his grief for his lover Jean, killed in the Resistance during the liberation of Paris, and his perverse attraction to the collaborator Riton. Elegiac, macabre, chimerical, it is a dark meditation on the mirror images of love and hate, sex and death.


Cultivate Community: Purchase these and other books at The Spiral Bookcase or at your local bookshop!



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