Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Our Story Begins

I'm totally excited that Tobias Wolff's new book, Our Story Begins, went on sale today! It's a collection of his short stories--some previously published, some new. I'm really thrilled--as I've mentioned before, his novel Old School is one of my all-time favorite novels. I really don't have much else to say--I just wanted to point out that Tobias Wolff is an awesome writer and you should read his books. That's all. Sometimes there just isn't much more than that. Oh, except that he'll be reading here on April 7th and you should get your tickets now (I think this might be a sell-out--tickets for our event with Jhumpa Lahiri are already gone!).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

IACP Nominees Announced

The IACP (otherwise known as the International Association of Culinary Professionals) have announced their nominees for their 2008 cookbook awards! You can read the full list here. The awards will be announced April 18th...so stay tuned!

As for me, I was particularly pleased to see Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich and Chez Jacques by Jacques Pepin nominated as they both came by the Brookline Booksmith this past year for signings. I'm going to have to check out Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey--though I'm familiar with almost all this year's nominees somehow this one flew under my radar.
Any favorites of yours on the list?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Secrets of Bored Booksellers

So, as much as we are usually busy helping customers (as well as shelving, sorting, ordering books, returning books, recommending books, dusting the shelves, etc.), there are the very occasional times (mostly during blizzards and major sporting events) when we may have a moment to wonder what we should do with ourselves. I have a bookseller friend who takes those moments to construct the funniest damn Venn diagrams you've ever seen.

I can't wait to show him Jessica Hagy's new book Indexed. It's a HILARIOUS little compilation of graphs and diagrams that have been amusing me for days (and has me checking out Ms. Hagy's blog for more!). Some of my favorites:

The intersection of organ, monkey, and scared little kid? Medical miracle or street performance.
Big jewelry, cane, and fur coat? Rich old woman or pimp.

And finally...
Father, son, and ghost? The worst camping trip ever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and HBO

Just a quick bit of news from Shelf Awareness that I found pretty cool--According to Variety (click for full article), HBO will be doing a series based on Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. And it would seem they're doing it with serious class--Anthony Minghella (who co-wrote and directed adaptations of The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley AND Cold Mountain) and Richard Curtis will be doing the writing and directing.

I'll definitely have to hit up a friend with HBO to have a viewing party.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Picks for Kids--Anatole

So, before I drive away all the adults, I just wanted to blog about my final pick for our staff recommendations wall. It's a wonderful classic picture book by Eve Titus titled Anatole (originally published in the 1950s and just as great today). If you know anyone who loved the movie Ratatouille (not just kids!)--they absolutely MUST meet Anatole, a Parisian mouse whose taste buds help the Duvall Cheese Factory become the most successful cheese producer in all of France. But all the while he must keep his identity a secret (he is a mouse, after all!)

By the way, Paul Galdone, the illustrator of Anatole, won Caldecott Honors for both that and its sequel, Anatole and the Cat, also written by Ms. Titus and also worth checking out. And by the way times two, Ms. Titus had a way with mice--her other best known character is Basil of Baker Street, a.k.a. the Sherlock Holmes of the Mouse World (who inspired a Disney movie of his own, The Great Mouse Detective).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Picks for Kids--A Great and Terrible Beauty

I mentioned earlier my recommendation of The Mysterious Benedict Society. I also recommended the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray, the first book of which is A Great and Terrible Beauty. Set in Victorian England and a parallel world of the realms, the story of Gemma and her friends is really magnificent in how it balances history, fantasy, romance, and suspense! I also appreciate how the melodrama is tempered by a nice thread of humor. I really think that all those Stephenie Meyer fans should give Libba Bray a read--I have a feeling if you like Ms. Meyer than you'll love Ms. Bray as well.

PS--This is another series with a lovely web presence; click here to sample.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Picks for Kids--The Mysterious Benedict Society

Brookline Booksmith will soon be setting up a special wall in the kids' section devoted to staff recommendations. Yay!

My first recommendation is The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. My blurb: Four very clever children—Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance—come together under the tutelage of the curious Mr. Benedict to form the Mysterious Benedict Society. I loved trying to solve the puzzles and challenges presented to the children as they took their qualifying exams and then moved on to their mission—saving the world from the evil Mr. Curtain! This is a true treat of a novel that is equally fun for both kids and adults.

By the way, this is a really cool website that tells you more about the book and lets you test yourself with the types of puzzles and challenges that the Mysterious Benedict Society faced (and, if you're like me, find out you're not nearly as clever as Reynie, Kate, Sticky or Constance!).

I was thrilled to find out that a sequel will be coming out in May--The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. My Hachette rep got me an advance copy and I couldn't put it down! Just as good as the first. Yippee!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alie's Pick Makes the Big Time

Alie was featured in Sunday's Boston Globe book reviews for her recommendation of Vendela Vida's Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name! Cool!

As Alie says "The writing is as sparse as the locale - Lapland - but you are drawn in immediately. A unique and intense read about a woman whose mother deserted her. When her father dies, she finds out he is not her biological father. Her journey of discovery is harrowing but affirming." (Click here and scroll to the bottom to read her review in its original context.)