Sunday, May 19, 2019

It's Sunday, So This Must Be Barnes & Noble - Part 2

 This week's Sunday morning visit to Barnes & Noble resulted in my TBR list growing by almost ten books - even though I brought only one of the books home with me today.  For about twenty minutes it seemed that no matter what direction I turned my head, there was something interesting in front of me.  When you get on a roll like that, you may as well just go with it.  So I did what I always do, put my phone's camera to good use by snapping pictures of things I want to know more about (I try, though, not to be particularly obvious when I take pictures inside a bookstore so some of these photos are a little wonky).

So let's begin with what I brought home, a new-to-me magazine title and Alex Berenson's 2017 The Prisoner:


World Literature Today is a high quality production that I've never before seen, and even though I paid full price for this November-December 2018 issue, I'm thrilled to get my hands on it.  As you can see, the cover features the wonderful writer Alice Walker and highlights several intriguing articles, especially the one titled "Illness & Literature." The magazine is chockfull of reviews, poems, stories, and interviews, so I expect to get a lot of use out of it.  Now I'm hoping that this wasn't somehow the last issue of a magazine that I only discovered on its deathbed - that would be just my luck.

I also bought a book from the bargain book display, The Prisoner.  I have found myself reading a whole lot of fiction and nonfiction set in various Muslim countries in the last few years, probably because I spent so many years living and working in North Africa and became pretty familiar with the culture.  A lot of those, of course, were thrillers and this one by Alex Berenson does sound like fun.  I take this from the dust jacket: "An Islamic State prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison has been overheard hinting that a senior CIA officer may be passing information to the Islamic State.  The agency's top officials, and even the President, say the possibility is unthinkable."  And that means that recurring character John Wells is going to have to "resume his former identity as a hardened jihadi."

It seems as if I'm seeing more Holocaust-based fiction right now than I've seen in a long time.  Considering the horrifying rise in anti-Semitism around the world, that is probably a good thing (maybe everyone should be forced to watch movies like The Pianist so that this trend is stopped in its tracks).  This one is set in 1943 Amsterdam where a married couple is arrested and sent to separate camps.  Now the wife has to decide whether she prefers the certainty of a slow death over volunteering for the camp brothel.  


I absolutely fell in love with Swedish writer Fredric Backman's novel A Man Called Ove a while back but have read only one other by him since then, a novel called My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry.  That's why I was happy to spot the more recent Bear Town and Us Against You (not pictured) on separate tables this morning. Without even knowing much about the plot details (I do remember that one of the two is about a small town hockey team), I'm putting both of them in line to be read soon just because I enjoy Backman's quirky plots so much.  



And because I'm a sucker for longish family sagas, these two made the morning's cut: The Guest Book (not pictured) by Sarah Blake and A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan.  I can't imagine any more different families, one wealthy and upperclass for generations and the other a family that has produced witches for generations.  Both novels appear upon first glance to be well written, so I'm looking forward to getting around to both of them eventually.  


I've been a Kate Atkinson fan for a few years now, and was pleased to see that her 2018 novel Transcription is now in paperback. This one is a spy novel set in England shortly after the conclusion of World War II. (I should mention that almost all of these books were found in displays of "new" paperbacks.)  The New Yorker raved about this one last year - and Atkinson is just so solid that I don't doubt that Transcription will be good.



Then there's this one called Supermarket by Bobby Hall (who appears to be a musician of note with whom I am completely unfamiliar).  It tells the tale of a young man named Flynn who has moved back in with his mother due to his anxiety and depression problems. Flynn gets a supermarket job that he believes will solve all of his problems - a steady job does tend to do that - but things don't go at all as planned after Flynn shows up at work only to find that he's walked into a crime scene.  This one is called a "psychological thriller" and a "study of madness and creativity." Sounds good.


And finally, there's the only nonfiction book in the lot, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, a book I've seen around for quite a while but somehow never taken a close look at.  Now I wish I hadn't waited so long because this one might finally answer some questions I've had for most of my life.  This will be my first Mary Roach book, but a quick glance at what else she's written tells me it's not likely to be my last.


In the past I would have purchased most of these nine books, if not all of them, eventually but those days are long gone due my lack of shelf space. I'm to the point where it has to be one book out for every new book I bring into the house, and that tends to make me a lot more careful with my book purchases than I used to be. So for now, most of these will be going on my "hold" list at the local library (best internet invention ever) - as soon as I can get that list back below the limit set by the library, that is.  Don't expect to see any of them reviewed on Book Chase anytime soon; but I can dream, right?


6 comments:

  1. I liked Transcription. It is a strange little book, slow, almost plodding, but there is definitely something worth waiting for.

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    1. You know, sometimes "plodding" is exactly what I need from a book, especially if the author takes the time to build some really strong characters while slowly advancing the plot.

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  2. My hold list is my best bookish friend because I can't afford to buy all the books I want to read...and I don't have the shelf space at home for them either. :)

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    1. Exactly. My list has 12 books on it right now, and I think the limits is 15. My nightmare is that they will all arrive in the same week. I have had as many as five come in the same week and then had to burn through them quicker than I wanted to because they were all on other hold lists and I didn't want to be the bad guy.

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  3. I'm also a big fan of family sagas, so I'll have to check out the two you mention. I hadn't heard of either before now, so thanks for the heads-up!

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    1. I'm so far behind on both my TBR and wish lists that you very well might get to them before I finally do...I'm guessing about two months from now at soonest. So let me know what you think if you beat me to it.

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