brooklyn book store

these just in … 31 January, 2008

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
by Bich Minh Nguyen

Paperback $14.00

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother’s traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled “delicacies” of mainstream America capture her imagination.

In Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, the glossy branded allure of Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House Cookies becomes an ingenious metaphor for Nguyen’s struggle to become a “real” American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell- O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man. Vivid and viscerally powerful, this remarkable memoir about growing up in the 1980s introduces an original new literary voice and an entirely new spin on the classic assimilation story.

The Friendship: Wordsworth & Coleridge
by Adam Sisman

Paperback $17.00

In Adam Sisman’s previous book, the award-winning Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, he inventively recounted the making of the most distinguished biography in the English language, James Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Now, with The Friendship, Sisman details the relationship of two of the most important Romantic poets, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The first modern biography to consider them together, The Friendship is a wonderfully readable account that evokes these two extraordinary personalities and situates them in their time, exploring the influence each writer had on the other, as well as providing glimpses of the creative process itself.

Along This Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson     *NEW EDITION
by James Weldon Johnson, intro. by Sondra Kathryn Wilson

Paperback $16.00

Published just four years before his death in 1938, James Weldon Johnson’s autobiography is a fascinating portrait of an African American who broke the racial divide at a time when the Harlem Renaissance had not yet begun to usher in the civil rights movement. Not only an educator, lawyer, and diplomat, Johnson was also one of the most revered leaders of his time, going on to serve as the first black president of the NAACP (which had previously been run only by whites), as well as write the groundbreaking novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Beginning with his birth in Jacksonville, Florida, and detailing his education, his role in the Harlem Renaissance, and his later years as a professor and civil rights reformer, Along This Way is an inspiring classic of African American literature.

The Golden Road: Notes on My Gentrification     *NEW EDITION
by Caille Millner

Paperback $14.00

Millner, a young black woman, grew up in a Chicano neighborhood in California, more than a little confused about racial identity and the lure of the state as a place of redefinition. Her parents’ wandering quest for economic stability later pulled loose her ties to Chicano culture, but she could never quite ground herself in the black middle class. The result was a cultural restlessness and longing that made her an outsider at an exclusive all-girls school and vulnerable to the allure of other rootless wanderers, including drug dealers and dabblers. Study at Harvard and travel through South Africa didn’t offer a clear sense of identity either. But her disconnectedness also gave her a sharp eye for insider-outsider status and a deep yearning to belong that made her hypersensitive to gentrification as witnessed in California, New York, Boston, and South Africa. Millner, who was first published at 16, has a keen eye for the social undercurrents and upheavals that churn cultural identity.

Mistress of the Art of Death
by Ariana Franklin

Paperback $15.00

It’s hard enough to produce a gripping thriller — harder still to write convincing historical fiction that recreates a living, breathing past. But this terrific book does both, and does it with a cast of characters so vivid and engaging that you’d be happy to read about them even if they weren’t on the track of a sexually depraved serial child-murderer.

Mistress of the Art of Death opens with a clever takeoff on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which introduces the central players, a group of pilgrims returning from the shrine of the newly canonized St. Thomas à Becket: a prior and a prioress (from rival abbeys); two knights, lately returned from the Crusades; an overweight but very shrewd tax collector; a gaggle of citizens; and three Gypsies, who are in fact secret investigators sent by the king of Sicily to discover the truth behind a series of gruesome murders near Cambridge.

Four children have been found dead and mutilated. The Jews of Cambridge have been blamed for the murders, the most prominent Jewish moneylender and his wife have been killed by a mob, and the rest of the Jewish community is shut up in the castle under the protection of the sheriff.

As the only group allowed to commit usury — that is, to lend money at interest — the Jews are prosperous, and thus the king of England considers them his prize cash cows. He wants them cleared of suspicion and released, so they can go back to paying him high taxes. To this end, he appeals to his cousin, the king of Sicily, to send his best master of the art of death: a doctor skilled in “reading” bodies. Enter Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, 25, the best mistress of death that the medical school at Salerno has ever produced. With Simon of Naples, a Jewish “fixer,” and Mansur, a eunuch with a mean throwing-ax, it’s her job to find a murderer before he — or she — can kill again.

Adelia comes onstage when she meets the prior under dramatic circumstances on the road, saving him from a burst bladder caused by a swollen prostate by thrusting a hollow reed up his penis. Not every man would follow up on an introduction like this, but the prior wants the mystery solved, too — and if the solution happens to ace out the rival abbey, so much the better.

Adelia finds 12th-century England a barbarous place. England finds Adelia a jaw-dropping anomaly. And Franklin exploits the contrast brilliantly. We’re on Adelia’s side from the start, identifying with her quite modern sensibilities — but at the same time, as she begins to know the English inhabitants as people, we sympathize with them, too. And a small but nice romantic subplot develops as the celibate, married-to-science Adelia discovers to her horror that live bodies have minds of their own.

Though the story is set in Cambridge, the Crusades run through the culture. We see both the corruption and the idealistic faith of the period, and while the Jews come off by far the best, Christians and Muslims are portrayed with evenhanded understanding. Beyond this, the story’s background is a wonderful tapestry of the paradoxes and struggles of the times: Christianity and Islam, Christians and Jews, science and superstition, and the new power of Henry II’s rule of law versus the stranglehold of the Church.

There are also fascinating details of historical forensic medicine, entertaining notes on women in science (the medical school at Salerno is not fictional), and a nice running commentary on science and superstition, as distinct from religious faith. Franklin does this subtly, by showing effects, rather than by beating us over the head with her opinions. These are clear enough but expressed with artistry rather than political correctness.

Franklin likewise balances cynicism, humanity and objectivity well. Adelia feels horror, fury and sympathy on behalf of the victims and the bereaved, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of finding the truth. And the story makes it clear that the motives of those who want a solution to the crime are not necessarily purer than the motives of those who want to conceal it.

Mistress of the Art of Death is wonderfully plotted, with a dozen twists — and with final rabbits pulled out of not one hat but two, as both the mystery and the romance reach satisfactorily unexpected conclusions. It’s a historical mystery that succeeds brilliantly as both historical fiction and crime-thriller. Above all, though, Franklin has written a terrific story, whose appeal rests on the personalities of the all-too-human beings who inhabit it.

The Liar’s Diary
by Patry Francis

Paperback $14.00

Secrets and lies dominate the lives of tightly wound school secretary Jeanne Cross; her abusive physician husband, Gavin; her deeply dysfunctional son, Jamie; and her promiscuous new best friend, Ali Mather. As their friendship grows, Jeanne learns of Ali’s series of affairs, and Ali discovers a dark truth about the Cross family. Marie Caliendo’s narration is a little too exuberant for the text, frequently placing inappropriate emphasis in odd places. Her character voices, especially those requiring high energy, do the job, but overall the reading detracts from Patry Francis’s disturbing first novel by calling attention to itself. Obsession, violence, and murder are the stuff of everyday life in this grim look at the facade of the perfect family.

Consequences of Sin     *NEW EDITION
by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Paperback $14.00

Langley-Hawthorne’s debut, billed as the first in a new Edwardian series, introduces an aspiring journalist and an Oxford-educated heiress, Ursula Marlow, who has a lot to learn about good detective work. Ursula’s sheltered life begins to unravel after she receives a frantic late-night call from her friend Winifred Stanford-Jones, who’s awakened to her lesbian lover’s bloody corpse in her bed. Ursula summons Lord Oliver Wrotham, legal adviser to her industrialist father, but she bristles at the condescending, restrictive male power structure of Edwardian London and launches her own probe into the murder—with limited success. More deaths follow, including that of Ursula’s father. Suspecting the crimes may be linked to a botanical expedition to South America, Ursula embarks for its jungles to confirm her theory. Whodunit fans may feel let down by the chance discovery of the culprit’s identity, though romance readers should appreciate the conflict between the heroine’s attraction to the dark, handsome Lord Wrotham and her sense of duty to marry the man her father intended for her.

Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters-and How to Talk About It *NEW EDITION
by Krista Tippett

Paperback $14.00

Tippett, host of the weekly NPR radio show Speaking of Faith, offers a challenging book that is part intellectual autobiography, part rumination on the issues of the day. It begins with a fairly detailed discussion of the death of “secularization theory” as outlined by Harvey Cox and others—not a typical opening salvo for a spiritual memoir—and then reveals Tippett’s own intellectual and spiritual formation. She discusses at length how her views were shaped not only by her Southern Baptist grandfather in Oklahoma, or by her adolescent rejection of his rigidity, but by the time she spent in East and West Germany in her 20s, first as a journalist and then as a diplomat. She followed this period with marriage and a stint in England before taking the plunge and enrolling in divinity school in the early 1990s. More than a personal chronicle, however, this is a rigorously brainy piece of work, as informed by the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Charles Darwin and Annie Dillard as it is by Tippett’s fascinating interviews with figures like Elie Wiesel and Karen Armstrong. As Tippett takes on issues from the science-and-religion debates to the future of progressive Islam, she shows herself to possess the same “imaginative intellectual approach” that she admires in some of her interview subjects.

Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life
by Allen Shawn

Paperback $15.00
The author’s rampant agoraphobia and compensatory claustrophobia leave him terrified of almost any unfamiliar space, including highways, fields, elevators, bridges, tunnels, heights and airplanes; a walk down a country lane leaves him panting and paralyzed with fear. In this absorbing memoir, Shawn—a composer, son of legendary New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of actor Wallace Shawn—approaches his panics from several angles. He explores the neurophysiology of phobic fear as an exaggerated, partly hereditary version of the innate human response to environmental threats. But he also offers a heavily Freudian account of his own panics, linking them to his parents’ overprotectiveness and the resulting psychosexual and oedipal conflicts he suppressed from childhood onward. The latter perspective informs his vivid portraits of his family life; his brilliant, conflicted father, who suffered from similar phobias; and his autistic twin sister. Drawing on the writings of fellow agoraphobes like Emily Dickinson and Blaise Pascal, Shawn makes his fear of vast, exposed spaces a metaphor for humanity’s existential predicament, an inchoate realization that “our brief life span is surrounded on all sides by nothingness.” The result is both a lucid explication of psychopathology and a deeply felt evocation of a “pain in the soul.”

these just in … 30 January, 2008

The Bastard of Istanbul (Paperback)
by Elif Shafak

Paperback $14.00

In her second novel written in English (The Saint of Incipient Insanities was the first), Turkish novelist Shafak tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian “question” in her signature style. In a novel that overflows with a kitchen sink’s worth of zany characters, women are front and center: Asya Kazanci, an angst-ridden 19-year-old Istanbulite is the bastard of the title; her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha (who intended to have an abortion), has raised Asya among three generations of complicated and colorful female relations (including religious clairvoyant Auntie Banu and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye). The Kazanci men either die young or take a permanent hike like Mustafa, Zeliha’s beloved brother who immigrated to America years ago. Mustafa’s Armenian-American stepdaughter, Armanoush, who grew up on her family’s stories of the 1915 genocide, shows up in Istanbul looking for her roots and for vindication from her new Turkish family. The Kazanci women lament Armanoush’s family’s suffering, but have no sense of Turkish responsibility for it; Asya’s boho cohorts insist there was no genocide at all. As the debate escalates, Mustafa arrives in Istanbul, and a long-hidden secret connecting the histories of the two families is revealed. Shafak was charged with “public denigration of Turkishness” when the novel was published in Turkey earlier this year (the charges were later dropped). She incorporates a political taboo into an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence.

The Cleft: A Novel
by Doris Lessing

Paperback $13.95

Eminent novelist Lessing offers an alternative origin story for the human race, indirectly recalling the alternate world speculations of her Canopus in Argos SF novels. Positing that the primal human stock was female rather than male, Lessing invents a cult of ancient women called the Clefts, a name derived, in part, from that essential part of female anatomy. The story of the Clefts is bookended by the journal of a Roman historian, who interprets ancient documents stating that females were originally impregnated by a fertilizing wind or a wave, to give birth to female children. But one day a deformed baby is born, with a lumpy swelling never seen before. The first rape and the first murder follow soon enough, as do the first instances of consensual intercourse and the babies—the first of a new race, with a nature derived from both sexes—that are the result. Humor, which may or may not be intentional, is introduced into a generally lethargic text when women and men discover they can’t live with or without each other, and the battle of the sexes commences. The novel has elements of a feminist tract, but the story it tells doesn’t present a significant challenge to that of Adam and Eve.

The Aeneid
by Virgil, intro. by Bernard Knox, translated by Robert Fagles

Paperback $16.00

With his translations of Homer’s classic poems, Robert Fagles gave new life to seminal works of the Western canon and became one of the preeminent translators of our time. His latest achievement completes the magnificent triptych of Western epics. A sweeping story of arms and heroism, The Aeneid follows the adventures of Aeneas, who flees the ashes of Troy to embark upon a tortuous course that brings him to Italy and fulfills his destiny as founder of the Roman people. Retaining all of the gravitas and humanity of the original, this powerful blend of poetry and myth remains as relevant today as when it was first written.

Thomas Hardy
by Claire Tomalin

Paperback $17.00

Respected British biographer Tomalin (whose Samuel Pepys was 2002’s Whitbread Book of the Year) sticks to the substantiated facts of Hardy’s life (1840–1928) in her finely honed biography, dismissing the speculative claims of other Hardy scholars as she charts the great British novelist and poet’s rise from humble rural origins to bestselling author and literary eminence. Tomalin captures the awkwardness of Hardy’s conduct in high society following his literary success, brilliantly highlighting the snobbishly mocking diary entries of upper-class observers. At the heart of Tomalin’s narrative is a gripping account of Hardy’s long, troubled marriage to Emma Gifford in which Tomalin carefully shows how a heady courtship waned into disappointment and bitterness on both sides. Tomalin damns neither party, evoking Emma’s eccentricities and frustrations along with Hardy’s infatuations with other women. She also treats, with great sensitivity and insight, Hardy’s poetic outpourings after Emma’s death, in which he imaginatively returned to an image of her as his beloved muse. “The wounds inflicted by life never quite healed over in Hardy,” writes Tomalin, although she avows she cannot completely fathom the underlying cause of his acute sensitivity to humiliation. A feat of distillation and mature judgment, Tomalin’s biography artfully presents Hardy in his intimate and social world, offering succinct and insightful readings of his work along the way.

Dark Roots: Stories
by Cate Kennedy

Paperback $13.00

A collection of prize-winning stories by The New Yorker–debuted Australian that is “by turns funny, wise, and achingly sad” (Stephanie Bishop, Sydney Morning Herald). Australian Cate Kennedy delivers a mesmerizing story collection that travels to the deepest depths of the human psyche. In these sublimely sophisticated and compulsively readable tales, Kennedy opens up worlds of finely observed detail to explore the collision between simmering inner lives and the cold outside world. Her stories are populated by people on the brink: a woman floundering with her own loss and emotional immobility as her lover lies in a coma; a neglected wife who cannot convince her husband of the truth about his two shamelessly libidinous friends; or a married woman realizes that her too-tight wedding ring isn’t the only thing that’s stuck in her relationship. Each character must make a choice and none is without consequence—even the smallest decisions have the power to destroy or renew, to recover and relinquish. Devastating, evocative, and richly comic, Dark Roots deftly unveils the traumas that incite us to desperate measures and the coincidences that drive our lives. This arresting collection introduces a new master of the short story.

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present
by Michael B. Oren

Paperback $17.95

Following up his acclaimed study of the Six-Day War, historian Oren analyzes America’s 200-plus–year involvement in the Middle East, from battling Barbary pirates to toppling Saddam Hussein. Dietz, one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Century, with a measured, leisurely reading style, turns in another solid performance. Dietz comes from the classic school of readers, sounding like an action movie–trailer narrator in a more contemplative mood. His almost brusque masculine swagger is highly appropriate for Oren’s tale of American misadventure in the Middle East, compounded in equal parts of the three titular components. Counterintuitively for so long an audiobook, Dietz’s tortoise-like performance adds to, rather than detracts from, Oren’s prose, with Dietz’s careful pace giving Oren’s carefully researched tome an added measure of dignified wisdom.

Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir (Hardcover)
by David Rieff

Hardcover $21.00 - 10%

Both a memoir and an investigation, Swimming in a Sea of Death is David Rieff’s loving tribute to his mother, the writer Susan Sontag, and her final battle with cancer. Rieff’s brave, passionate, and unsparing witness of the last nine months of her life, from her initial diagnosis to her death, is both an intensely personal portrait of the relationship between a mother and a son, and a reflection on what it is like to try to help someone gravely ill in her fight to go on living and, when the time comes, to die with dignity.

Rieff offers no easy answers. Instead, his intensely personal book is a meditation on what it means to confront death in our culture. In his most profound work, this brilliant writer confronts the blunt feelings of the survivor — the guilt, the self-questioning, the sense of not having done enough.

And he tries to understand what it means to desire so desperately, as his mother did to the end of her life, to try almost anything in order to go on living.

Drawing on his mother’s heroic struggle, paying tribute to her doctors’ ingenuity and faithfulness, and determined to tell what happened to them all, Swimming in a Sea of Death subtly draws wider lessons that will be of value to others when they find themselves in the same situation.

The Cinema Book (3rd Edition)
by Pam Cook

Paperback $48.00

First published in 1985, The Cinema Book was hailed as a landmark film studies text, presenting in accessible form two decades of intellectual activity on the subject. The second edition (1999) consolidated The Cinema Book’s international reputation as the leading guide to film studies. This new edition has been extensively revised, expanded, and updated to include brand new chapters together with original essays and case studies written by leading scholars from around the globe. It provides comprehensive coverage of seven major areas: Hollywood Cinema and Beyond; Stars; Technologies; World Cinemas; Genre; Authorship; and Developments in Theory. New topics include Global Hollywood; Contemporary Women Directors; Queer Theory; and Postmodernism. All sections are supported by in-depth analyses of films from the earliest days to the present.

The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality
by Andre Comte-Sponville, translated by Nancy Huston

Hardcover $19.95 - 10%

Can we do without religion? Can we have ethics without God? Is there such thing as “atheist spirituality”? In this powerful book, the internationally bestselling author André Comte-Sponville presents a philosophical exploration of atheism—and comes to some startling conclusions. According to Comte-Sponville, we have allowed the concept of spirituality to become intertwined with religion, and thus have lost touch with the nature of a true spiritual existence. In order to change this, however, we need not reject the ancient traditions and values that are part of our heritage; rather, we must rethink our relationship to these values and ask ourselves whether their significance comes from the existence of a higher power or simply the human need to connect to one another and the universe. Comte-Sponville offers rigorous, reasoned arguments that take both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions into account, and through his clear, concise, and often humorous prose, he offers a convincing treatise on a new form of spiritual life.

The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume I: Basic Forms: How to Make Pop-Ups Step-by-Step
by Carol Barton
Hardcover $24.00 - 10%

Carol Barton’s pop-up workbook is glorious! Unique and delightfully playful, her work continues the time-honored tradition of movables in books.

Best Sellers … 28 January, 2008

BookCourt Best Sellers                                                                                                             

January 28, 2008                                         20% off list price

Hardcover Fiction
  1. THE COMMONER. John Burnham Schwartz. Doubleday. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  2. THEN WE CAME TO THE END. Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown.  $23.95.                   Our Price $19.19.
  3. BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. Junot Diaz. Riverhead. $24.95.                        Our Price $19.96.
  4. OUT STEALING HORSES. Per Petterson. Gray Wolf. $22. Our Price $17.60.
  5. WAR & PEACE. Leo Tolstoy (translated by Pevear & Volokhonsky). Random House. $37. Our Price $29.60.
  6. YIDDISH POLICEMAN’S UNION. Michael Chabon. HarperCollins. $26.95.                     Our Price $21.56.
  7. THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead. $25.95.                      Our Price $20.76.
  8. PEOPLE OF THE BOOK. Geraldine Brooks. Penguin. $25.95. Our Price $20.76.
  9. BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. Charles Bock. Random House. $25. Our Price $20.
  10. MY MISTRESS’S SPARROW IS DEAD. Jeffrey Eugenides. HarperCollins. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.

Hardcover Nonfiction

  1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $21.95. Our Price $17.56.
  2. BORN STANDING UP. Steve Martin. Simon & Schuster. $25. Our Price $20.
  3. REST IS NOISE. Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $30. Our Price $24.
  4. 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL. Matthew Frederick. MIT Press. $12.95. Our Price $10.36..
  5. ART OF SIMPLE FOOD. Alice Waters. Random House. $35. Our Price $28.
  6. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. Mark Bittman. Wiley. $35. Our Price $28.
  7. ROAST CHICKEN & OTHER STORIES. Simon Hopkinson. Hyperion. $24.95.

      Our Price $19.96.

  1. MUSICOPHILIA. Oliver Sacks. Random House. $26. Our Price $20.80.
  2. THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING. Drew Faust. Random House. $27.95.                  Our Price $22.36.
  3. MY FATHER’S HEART. Steve McKee. Perseus $25. Our Price $20.
Paperback Fiction
  1. THE GATHERING. Anne Enright. Grove Press. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  2. THE ROAD. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  3. ATONEMENT. Ian McEwan. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  4. BOOK OF OTHER PEOPLE Zadie Smith. Penguin. $15.Our Price $12.
  5. BLOOD MERIDIAN. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  6. OIL. Upton Sinclair. Penguin. $15. Our Price $12.
  7. HOUSE OF MEETINGS. Martin Amis. Random House. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  8. SPOT OF BOTHER. Martin Haddon. Random House. $13.95. Our Price $11.16.
  9. RESERVATION ROAD. John Burnham Schwartz. Random House. $13.95.                                 Our Price $11.16.
  10. WHAT IS THE WHAT? Dave Eggers. Random House. $15.95. Our Price $12.76.

    Paperback Nonfiction

  1. BROOKLYN WAS MINE. Chris Knutsen & Valerie Steiker (editors). Riverhead. $15. Our Price $12.
  2. OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $16. Our Price $12.80.
  3. DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY.  Jean-Dominique Bauby. Random House. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  4. EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Elizabeth Gilbert. Penguin. $15. Our Price $12.
  5. WORKS. Kate Asher. Penguin. $20. Our Price $16.
  6. BEST OF LCD. Dave Thespazz. Princeton Arch. $29.95. Our Price $23.96.
  7. COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS. Marjane Sartrapi. Random House. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  8. NFT GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY 2008. Not For Tourists. $15.95.                      Our Price $12.76.
  9. ZAGAT BEST OF BROOKLYN. Zagat Survey. $12.95.Our Price $10.36.
  10. GOD DELUSION. Richard Dawkins. Houghton Mifflin. $15.95. Our Price $12.76.

    Children’s Hardcover & Paperback

  1. PINKALICIOUS. Elizabeth Kann. HarperCollins. $16.99. Our Price $13.59.
  2. THIS IS NEW YORK. M. Sasek. Universe. $17.95. Our Price $14.36.
  3. GALLOP. Rufus Seder. Workman. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  4. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Roderick Rules. Jeff Kinney. Abrams $12.95.                   Our Price $0.36.
  5. KNUFFLE BUNNY. Mo Willems. Hyperion. $15.99. Our Price $12.79.
  6. ALPHABET FROM A TO Y. Steve Martin. Doubleday. $17.95. Our Price $14.36.
  7. WHAT’S UP DUCK? Tad Hills. Random House. $6.99. Our Price $5.59.
  8. GOOD NIGHT NEW YORK CITY. A. Gamble. Our World of Books. $11.95.              Our Price $9.56.
  9. GOLDEN COMPASS (trade edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $7.50.                   Our Price $6.
  10. GRUFFALO Board Book. Julia Donaldson. Dial Press. $6.99. Our Price $5.59.

these just in … 24 January, 2008

Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror
by Jeffrey Goldberg

Paperback $14.95

Not a light read, this memoir of the author, an American-bred Zionist, and his 15-year relationship with a Palestinian insurgent is bound to have detractors, in part because New Yorker Washington correspondent Goldberg is painfully honest—about his dreams, limitations and anxieties. “I wanted to… have it all,” he writes, “my parochialism, my universalism, a clean conscience, and a friendship with my enemy.” Goldberg lived in Israel as a college student, sharpening the contradictory emotions shared by many of his American peers and eventually watching his former certainty crumble under the weight of military service at Ketziot, an Israeli prison. Grounded in his relationship with a prisoner, Goldberg’s book travels from Long Island to Afghanistan as he struggles to understand Israeli-Palestinian violence. His honesty is itself high recommendation; the book is also marked by beautiful turns of phrase and a forthrightness that saves it from occasional self-importance. Some readers will argue with some of Goldberg’s assertions (such as his reading of Israel’s offer to Arafat at Camp David), and the author’s halting recognition of the role despair plays in shaping Palestinian thought. Like the warring nationalisms it presents, his book is complex and deeply affecting.

Real Food: What to Eat and Why (Paperback)
by Nina Planck

Paperback $14.95

Nina Planck is a good, stylish writer and a dogged researcher who writes directly, forthrightly and with an edge. She isn’t afraid to make the occasional wisecrack (”No doubt, for some people, cracking open an egg is one chore too many”) while taking unpopular positions. Her chosen field—she is a champion of “real” (as opposed to industrialized) food—is one in which unpopular positions are easy to find. As Planck reveals, in her compellingly smart Real Food: What to Eat and Why, much of what we have learned about nutrition in the past generation or so is either misinformed or dead wrong, and almost all of the food invented in the last century, and especially since the Second World War, is worse than almost all of the food that we’ve been eating since we developed agriculture. This means, she says, that butter is better than margarine (so, for that matter, is lard); that whole eggs (especially those laid by hens who scratch around in the dirt) are better than egg whites, and that eggs in general are an integral part of a sound diet; that full-fat milk is preferable to skim, raw preferable to pasteurized, au naturel preferable to homogenized. She goes so far as to maintain—horror of horrors—that chopped liver mixed with real schmaltz and hard-boiled eggs is, in a very real way, a form of health food. Like those who’ve paved the way before her, she urges us to eat in a natural, old-fashioned way. But unlike many of them, and unlike her sometimes overbearing compatriots in the Slow Food movement, she is far from dogmatic, making her case casually, gently, persuasively. And personally, Planck’s philosophy grows directly out of her life history, which included a pair of well-educated parents who decided, when the author was two, to pull up stakes in Buffalo, N.Y., and take up farming in northern Virginia. Planck, therefore, grew up among that odd combination of rural farming intellectuals who not only wanted to raise food for a living but could explain why it made sense. Planck, who is now an author and a creator and manager of farmers’ markets, has a message that can be—and is—summed up in straightforward and simple fashion in her first couple of chapters. She then goes on to build her case elaborately, citing both recent and venerable studies, concluding in the end that the only sensible path for eating, the one that maintains and even improves health, the one that maintains stable weight and avoids obesity, happens to be the one that we all crave: not modern food, but traditional food, and not industrial food, but real food.

Bang Crunch
by Neil Smith

Paperback $13.95

In Neil Smith’s nine stories, average people find themselves in decidedly unusual situations, as the mundane and the fantastic collide. A woman mourning the loss of her husband finds solace in talking to his ashes, entombed in a curling stone. The title story zeroes in on a girl with Fred Hoyle syndrome, whose age expands and contracts like the universe. The members of a support group for people with benign tumors begin to suspect that their meekness has caused their medical woes.

Bang Crunch creates an extraordinary world inhabited by all-too-human characters, and heralds the arrival of a literary talent with an unfailing, exacting concern for the profundities of our lives.

Christine Falls: A Novel (Paperback)
by Benjamin Black  AKA  John Banville

Paperback $14.00

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city’s high Catholic society.It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living.

One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse — and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious — and very well-guarded — secrets of Dublin’s high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.

Set in Dublin and Boston in the 1950s, the first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of Booker Prize winner John Banville’s fiction to a thrilling, atmospheric crime story. Quirke is a fascinating and subtly drawn hero, Christine Falls is a classic tale of suspense, and Benjamin Black’s debut marks him as a true master of the form.

Call Me by Your Name: A Novel
by Andre Aciman

Paperback $14.00

Egyptian-born Aciman is the author of the acclaimed memoir Out of Egypt and of the essay collection False Papers. His first novel poignantly probes a boy’s erotic coming-of-age at his family’s Italian Mediterranean home. Elio—17, extremely well-read, sensitive and the son of a prominent expatriate professor—finds himself troublingly attracted to this year’s visiting resident scholar, recruited by his father from an American university. Oliver is 24, breezy and spontaneous, and at work on a book about Heraclitus. The young men loll about in bathing suits, play tennis, jog along the Italian Riviera and flirt. Both also flirt (and more) with women among their circle of friends, but Elio, who narrates, yearns for Oliver. Their shared literary interests and Jewishness help impart a sense of intimacy, and when they do consummate their passion in Oliver’s room, they call each other by the other’s name. A trip to Rome, sanctioned by Elio’s prescient father, ushers Elio fully into first love’s joy and pain, and his travails set up a well-managed look into Elio’s future. Aciman overcomes an occasionally awkward structure with elegant writing in Elio’s sweet and sanguine voice.

Toussaint Louverture
by Madison Smartt Bell

Paperback $14.95

At the end of the 1700s, French Saint Domingue was the richest and most brutal colony in the Western Hemisphere. A mere twelve years later, however, Haitian rebels had defeated the Spanish, British, and French and declared independence after the first—and only—successful slave revolt in history. Much of the success of the revolution must be credited to one man, Toussaint Louverture, a figure about whom surprisingly little is known. In this fascinating biography, Madison Smartt Bell, award-winning author of a trilogy of novels that investigate Haiti’s history, combines a novelist’s passion with a deep knowledge of the historical milieu that produced the man labeled a saint, a martyr, or a clever opportunist who instigated one of the most violent events in modern history.

The first biography in English in over sixty years of the man who led the Haitian Revolution, this is an engaging reexamination of the controversial, paradoxical leader.

How to Fossilize Your Hamster: And Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist
by Mick O’Hare

Paperback $14.00

How can you measure the speed of light with a bar of chocolate and a microwave oven? To keep a banana from decaying, are you better off rubbing it with lemon juice or refrigerating it? How can you figure out how much your head weighs? Mick O’Hare, who created the New Scientist’s popular science sensations Does Anything Eat Wasps? and Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?, has the answers.

In this fascinating and irresistible new book, O’Hare and the New Scientist team guide you through one hundred intriguing experiments that show essential scientific principles (and human curiosity) in action. Explaining everything from the unusual chemical reaction between Mentos and cola that provokes a geyser to the geological conditions necessary to preserve a family pet for eternity, How to Fossilize Your Hamster is fun, hands-on science that everyone will want to try at home.

From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought
by Julian Bourg
Hardcover $32.95 - 10%
The French revolts of May 1968, the largest general strike in twentieth-century Europe, were among the most famous and colourful episodes of the twentieth century. Julian Bourg argues that during the subsequent decade the revolts led to a remarkable paradigm shift in French thought - the concern for revolution in the 1960s was transformed into a fascination with ethics. Challenging the prevalent view that the 1960s did not have any lasting effect, From Revolution to Ethics demonstrates that intellectuals and activists turned to ethics as the touchstone for understanding interpersonal, institutional, and political dilemmas. In absorbing and scrupulously researched detail Bourg explores the developing ethical fascination as it emerged among student Maoists courting terrorism, anti-psychiatric celebrations of madness, feminists mobilizing against rape, and pundits and philosophers championing human rights. Based on newly accessible archival sources and over fifty interviews with men and women who participated in the events of the era, From Revolution to Ethics provides a compelling picture of how May 1968 helped make ethics a compass for navigating contemporary global experience.
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters
by Jon Lellenberg
Hardcover $37.95 - 10%
This fascinating collection of previously unpublished letters from the creator of Sherlock Holmes offers a revealing glimpse of a Renaissance man fated to be overshadowed by his most famous character. Beginning with correspondence from Doyle as an eight-year-old in 1867, the editors offer a warts-and-all picture of his life until 1920, 10 years before his death, covering the author’s frank accounts of life at a boarding school, his struggles as a young doctor and aspiring writer, and his political advocacy. Those seeking insights into the creation of Holmes may be disappointed; while Doyle’s ambivalence toward Holmes is well known, this collection reveals the extent to which he viewed his character principally as a source of income rather than a lasting legacy. The editors—Doyle experts Lellenberg and Stashower, and Doyle’s great-nephew Foley—have nicely balanced the content: the letters reveal Doyle’s stiff upper lip when he lost a son during the Great War, and his sense of humor, as in a hilarious report to his mother on the birth of his daughter Mary. This will be essential reading for all fans of Conan Doyle and his sleuth.

Best Sellers … 21 January, 2008

BookCourt Best Sellers                                                                                                             

January 21, 2008                                         20% off list price

Hardcover Fiction
  1. LIGHT FELL. Evan Fallenberg. Soho Press. $22. Our Price $17.60.
  2. OUT STEALING HORSES. Per Petterson. Gray Wolf.  $22. Our Price $17.60.
  3. MY MISTRESS’S SPARROW IS DEAD. Jeffrey Eugenides. HarperCollins. $24.95.                        Our Price $19.96.
  4. BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. Junot Diaz. Riverhead. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  5. UNCOMMON READER. Alan Bennett. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $15. Our Price $12.
  6. THEN WE CAME TO THE END. Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown. $23.99.                       Our Price $19.19.
  7. THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead. $25.95.                      Our Price $20.76.
  8. YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. Michael Chabon. HarperCollins. $26.95.      Our Price $21.56.
  9. PEOPLE OF THE BOOK. Geraldine Brooks. Penguin. $25.95. Our Price $20.76.
  10. SWAY. Zachary Lazar. Little, Brown. $23.99. Our Price $19.19.

Hardcover Nonfiction

  1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $21.95. Our Price $17.56.
    Frederick. MIT Press. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  3. ROAST CHICKEN & OTHER STORIES. Simon Hopkinson. Hyperion. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  4. REST IS NOISE. Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $30. Our Price $24.
  5. ART OF SIMPLE FOOD. Alice Waters. Random House. $35. Our Price $28.
  6. BORN STANDING UP. Steve Martin. Simon & Schuster. $25. Our Price $20.
  7. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. Mark Bittman. Wiley. $35.

      Our Price $28.

  1. LITTLE BOOK OF THE SEA. Lorenz Schroter. MacAdam/Cage. $15. Our Price $12
  2. SECRET INGREDIENTS. David Remnick. Random House. $29.95. Our Price $21.56.
  3. AGAINST THE MACHINE. Lee Siegel. Doubleday. $22.95. Our Price $18.36..
Paperback Fiction
  1. THE GATHERING. Anne Enright. Grove Press. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  2. EMPEROR’S CHILDREN. Claire Messud. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  3. ATONEMENT. Ian McEwan. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  4. THE ROAD. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  5. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. Sara Gruen. Algonquin. $13.95. Our Price $11.16.
  6. ECHO MAKER. Richard Powers. St. Martin’s Press $15. Our Price $12.
  7. DISGRACE. J. Coetzee. Penguin. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  8. HISTORY OF LOVE. Nicole Krauss. Norton. $13.95. Our Price $11.16.
  9. HOUSE OF MEETINGS. Martin Amis. Random House. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  10. SACRED GAMES. Vikram Chandra. HarperCollins. $16.95. Our Price $13.56.

    Paperback Nonfiction

  1. BROOKLYN WAS MINE. Chris Knutsen & Valerie Steiker (editors). Riverhead. $15. Our Price $12.
  2. DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY. Jean-Dominique Bauby. Random House. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  3. EAT, PRAY, LOVE.  Elizabeth Gilbert. Penguin. $15. Our Price $12.
  4. COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS. Marjane Sartrapi. Random House. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  5. OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $16. Our Price $12.80.
  6. WORKS. Kate Asher. Penguin. $20. Our Price $16.
  7. ZAGAT NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS 2008. Zagat Survey. $15.95.                      Our Price $12.76.
  8. WALKER IN THE CITY. Alfred Kazin. Harcourt. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  9. ZAGAT BEST OF BROOKLYN. Zagat Survey. $12.95.Our Price $10.36.
  10. NFT GUIDE TO BROOKLYN 2008. Not For Tourists. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.

    Children’s Hardcover & Paperback

  1. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Roderick Rules. Jeff Kinney. Abrams. $12.95.                     Our Price $10.36.
  2. SUBWAY. Anastasis Suen. Penguin. $15.99. Our Price $12.79.
  3. KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO. Mo Willems. Hyperion. $16.99. Our Price $13.59.
  4. PINKALICIOUS. Elizabeth Kann. HarperCollins. $16.99. Our Price $13.59.
  5. GOOD NIGHT, NEW YORK CITY. A. Gamble. Our World of Books. $11.95.                     Our Price $9.56.
  6. BARACK OBAMA: An American Story. Roberta Edwards. Putnam. $3.99.                       Our Price $3.19.
  7. AMBER SPYGLASS (deluxe edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $11.95.                Our Price $9.56.
  8. MEN & GODS. Rex Warner. New York Review of Books. $16.95. Our Price $13.56.
  9. BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR (board book). Bill Martin. Holt. $7.95                    Our Price $6.36.
  10. GOLDEN COMPASS (deluxe edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $11.95.                  Our Price $9.56.

these just in … 19 January, 2007

100 Animals to See Before They Die (Bradt Guides) (Hardcover)
by Nick Garbutt

Hardcover $24.99 - 10%

Marking a new departure for Bradt, this full color, large format title builds on the brand’s reputation for ethical travel and conservation, presenting a compendium of 100 of the world’s most endangered mammals in association with ZSL – Zoological Society of London – and its much-acclaimed Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered program.

Each animal is accompanied by full color pictures, a distribution map, and easily understood text about its characteristics, the issues it faces, conservation work taking place, visiting responsibly, and organizations to contact to assist with conservation work.

This is a must-have title for anyone with any interest in the welfare of our planet and the protection of some of its most endangered species.

by Upton Sinclair

Paperback $15.00

Sinclair’s 1927 novel did for California’s oil industry what The Jungle did for Chicago’s meat-packing factories. The plot follows the clash between an oil developer and his son. Typical of Sinclair, there are undertones here of socialism and sympathy for the common working stiff. Though the book is not out of print, this is the only paperback currently available.

My Father’s Heart
by Steve McKee

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

A memoir of a father and son relationship cut short by heart attack, and the powerful pull of love across the empty years.

Sixteen-year-old Steve McKee watched his father die of a heart attack on the couch in their TV room. A lifelong smoker and workaholic, John McKee had been floored by a heart attack five years earlier. The McKee clan-perhaps including a demoralized John himself-had long been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

At age fifty-two, Steve McKee learned that he was his father’s son more than he had ever hoped-he, too, has serious cardiovascular disease. Haunted by his father’s seeming surrender to the condition, McKee set out to find the man who died before the son could know him. In so doing, what might he, Steve McKee, learn of himself?

Chronicling the disorienting first days following John McKee’s death, My Father’s Heart is an extraordinary story of an all-too-ordinary scenario: A father dies, a son remains, and the loss casts a long shadow across a generation. Rich in evocative detail of time, place, and family, it is a powerful memoir of love, forgiveness, and finding oneself.

The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups
by Ron Rosenbaum

Paperback $18.00

Acclaimed journalist Rosenbaum, New York Observer columnist and cultural omnivore (Explaining Hitler), conveys the impassioned arguments of leading directors and scholars concerning how Shakespeare should be printed and performed. “Hearing Sir Peter Hall pound his fists in fury over the vital importance of a pause at the close of a pentameter line, for instance—wonderful!” Rosenbaum enthuses. Elsewhere he recalls how seeing Peter Brook’s definitive 1970 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired Rosenbaum’s “outsider’s odyssey into the innermost citadels of scholarship” to investigate the painstaking work of Shakespearean textual experts as they convert the Bard’s earliest published works into authoritative editions. Evoking the clashing methodologies and discourses of scholars, the dizzying depths of lexicographic databases and a rare instance of Shakespeare’s voice transcribed in a court proceeding, Rosenbaum captures with clarity and wry humor the obsessive fervor, theoretical about-turns and occasional scholarly fiasco that characterize this arcane world. He considers the politics of portraying Shylock and Falstaff, appraises Shakespeare on film and provocatively comments on the work of such influential critics as Harold Bloom, Stephen Greenblatt and Stephen Booth. Balancing academic reportage with his own lively observations, Rosenbaum wrestles with the weightiest issues of Shakespeare studies in a down-to-earth manner that readers will applaud.

Cleaver: A Novel
by Tim Parks

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

Tim Parks is the author of seventeen books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Europa, Destiny, Judge Savage, and A Season with Verona.

Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me (Hardcover)
Edited by Andy Selsberg, Ben Karlin, and Nick Hornby. Forward by Ben’s Mom

Hardcover $23.99 - 10%

The Emmy award-winning former executive producer of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report has assembled a stellar lineup of men who have one thing in common:all have been dumped…and are willing to share their pain and the lessons learned.Relationships end.And in almost all of them, even the most callow among us take something away. This is a book about that something, whether it be major life lessons, like “If you lie, you will get caught,” simple truths like, “Flowers work,” or something wholly unique like, “Watch out for the high strung brother in the military.”This anthology will be comprised of longer and shorter pieces, drawn from an array of impressive celebrities, writers and public figures.Some pieces may be a paragraph in length while others will be full-blown essays.All of them will be about that salient something men take away from a failed relationship. Yes, men learn.This is not a touchy-feely book.This is not a self-help book. This is a book packed with smart, funny and insightful stories from men you probably thought never got dumped, or if they did, would never admit it.

Love Poems
by Pablo Neruda. Translated by Donald D. Walsh
Paperback $11.95

“One of the greatest major poets of the twentieth century.”—The New York Times Book ReviewCharged with sensuality and passion, Pablo Neruda’s love poems caused a scandal when published anonymously in 1952. In later editions, these verses became the most celebrated of the Noble Prize winner’s oeuvre, captivating readers with earthbound images that reveal in gentle lingering lines an erotic re-imagining of the world through the prism of a lover’s body: “today our bodies came vast, they grew to the edge of the world / and rolled melting / into a single drop / of wax or meteor….” Written on the paradisal island of Capri, where Neruda “took refuge” in the arms of his lover Matilde Urrutia, Love Poems embraces the seascapes around them, saturating the images of endless shores and waves with a new, yearning eroticism. This wonderful book collects Neruda’s most passionate verses.
Beautiful Children: A Novel
by Charles Bock

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

A wide-ranging portrait of an almost mythically depraved Las Vegas, this sweeping debut takes in everything from the bland misery of suburban Nevada to the exploitative Vegas sex industry. At the nexus of this Dickensian universe is Newell Ewing, a hyperactive 12-year-old boy with a comic-book obsession. One Saturday night, Newell disappears after going out with his socially awkward, considerably older friend. Orbiting around that central mystery are a web of sufferers: Newell’s distraught parents, clinging onto a fraught but tender marriage; a growth-stunted comic book illustrator; a stripper who sacrifices bodily integrity for success; and a gang of street kids. Into their varying Vegas tableaux, Bock stuffs an overwhelming amount of evocative detail and brutally revealing dialogue (sometimes in the form of online chats). The story occasionally gets lost in amateur skin flicks, unmentionable body alterations and tattoos, and the greasy cruelty of adolescents, all of which are given unflinching and often deft closeups. The bleak, orgiastic final sequence, drawing together the disparate plot threads, feels contrived, but Bock’s Vegas has hope, compassion and humor, and his set pieces are sharp and accomplished.

Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food
by John Haney

Hardcover $26.00 - 10%

In this beautifully written, vividly rendered memoir, John Haney, Gourmet magazine’s copy chief, describes his family’s day-to-day struggles, from the twilight of Queen Victoria’s reign to the dawn of the third millennium, in London’s least affluent working-class enclaves and suburbs, including a place called the Isle of Dogs–and reflects on how his family’s affection for the past and the food they loved brought them all together.

As a young John grows up in the fifties and sixties, the Haneys are a rough-and-tumble clan of bus drivers, telegraph operators, salesmen, junior civil servants, and secretaries. They work hard to put meals on the table and a shilling in the gas meter. When they gather at weddings and wakes and Christmas parties, they talk about politics and two world wars, drink cheap sherry, chain-smoke cigarettes, and eat platefuls of distinctly British fare: winkles, whelks, sausage rolls, marmalade sandwiches, and spotted dick.

Enchanted and, at the same time, slightly embarrassed by his Cockney pedigree, the young John Haney lives a life torn between his colorful East End relatives–with their penchant for bangers, bacon sandwiches, and highly irreverent banter–and his lower-middle-class mother, who is preoccupied with her children’s education. Thanks to the generosity of his more moneyed neighbors, John is able to take trips to France and Italy, where, despite his continuing passion for baked beans on toast and toad-in-the-hole, he cultivates a taste for snails, Sancerre, stinky cheese, and minestra di pasta grattata.

Having survived grammar school, university, four years of part-time horsing around in the RAF’s equivalent of the JROTC, and a stint of semi-starvation in the music business, John is poised to break out of the working class–and ends up in Manhattan, where he promptly falls in love and decides to stay put.

But crossing the Atlantic–and with it the class barrier–leaves John with deep feelings of displacement and nostalgia. As he eats in some of New York City’s most expensive restaurants, he tries (and fails) to reconcile his new appetites with the indelible tastes of his youth. His sense of self becomes further conflicted when his father, a taciturn but loving man, dies and later when his ferociously proud mother, following the death of her second husband, must subsist on a minuscule pension. Suddenly John is forced to reconsider his defection and to grapple with memories, fleeting but formidable, of the long-ago life that has continued to, and always will, define him.

Peopled with unforgettable characters who find in even the greasiest kitchens the sustenance to see them through life’s hardships, Fair Shares for All is a remarkable memoir of resolve and resilience, food and family.

Ellington Boulevard: A Novel in A-Flat
by Adam Langer

Hardcover $24.95 - 10%

Clarinetist Ike Morphy, his dog Herbie Mann, and a pair of pigeons who roost on his air conditioner are about to be evicted from their apartment on West 106th Street, also known as Duke Ellington Boulevard. Ike has never had a lease, just a handshake agreement with the recently deceased landlord; and now that landlord’s son stands to make a killing on apartment 2B.

Centering on the fate of one apartment before, during, and after the height of New York’s real estate boom, Ellington Boulevard’s characters include the Tenant and His Dog; the Landlord, a recovered alcoholic and womanizer who has newly found Judaism and a wife half his age; the Broker, an out-of-work actor whose new profession finally allows him to afford theater tickets he has no time to use; the Broker’s New Boyfriend, a second-rate actor who composes a musical about the sale of 2B (“Is there no one I can lien on if this boom goes bust?”). There’s also the Buyer, a trusting young editor at a dying cultural magazine, who falls in love with the Tenant; the Buyer’s Husband, a disaffected graduate student taken to writing bawdy faux-academic papers; and the Buyer’s Husband’s Girlfriend, a children’s book writer with a tragic past.

With the humor and poignancy that made Langer’s first novel, Crossing California, a favorite book of the year among critics across the country, Ellington Boulevard is an ode to New York. It’s the story of why people come to a city they can’t afford, take jobs they despise, sacrifice love, find love, and eventually become the people they never thought they’d be—for better and for worse.

Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob
by Lee Siegel

Hardcover $22.95 - 10%

Of course the Internet is not one thing or another; if anything, its boosters claim, the Web is everything at once. It’s become not only our primary medium for communication and information but also the place we go to shop, to play, to debate, to find love. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life online doesn’t just reshape the ordinary rhythms of our days; it also reshapes our minds and culture, in ways with which we haven’t yet reckoned. The web and its cultural correlatives and by-products—such as the dominance of reality television and the rise of the “bourgeois bohemian”—have turned privacy into performance, play into commerce, and confused “self-expression” with art. And even as technology gurus ply their trade using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede more and more control of our freedom and individuality to the needs of the machine—that confluence of business and technology whose boundaries now stretch to encompass almost all human activity.

Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention against the Internet itself but rather a bracing appeal for us to contend with how it is transforming us all. Dazzlingly erudite, full of startlingly original insights, and buoyed by sharp wit, Against the Machine will force you to see our culture—for better and worse—in an entirely new way.

The Commoner: A Novel
by John Burnham Schwartz

Hardcover $24.95 - 10%

It is 1959 when Haruko, a young woman of good family, marries the Crown Prince of Japan, the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. She is the first non-aristocratic woman to enter the longest-running, almost hermetically sealed, and mysterious monarchy in the world. Met with cruelty and suspicion by the Empress and her minions, Haruko is controlled at every turn. The only interest the court has in her is her ability to produce an heir. After finally giving birth to a son, Haruko suffers a nervous breakdown and loses her voice. However, determined not to be crushed by the imperial bureaucrats, she perseveres. Thirty years later, now Empress herself, she plays a crucial role in persuading another young woman—a rising star in the foreign ministry—to accept the marriage proposal of her son, the Crown Prince. The consequences are tragic and dramatic.

Told in the voice of Haruko, meticulously researched and superbly imagined, The Commoner is the mesmerizing, moving, and surprising story of a brutally rarified and controlled existence at once hidden and exposed, and of a complex relationship between two isolated women who, despite being visible to all, are truly understood only by each other. With the unerring skill of a master storyteller, John Burnham Schwartz has written his finest novel yet.

The Unknown Terrorist: A Novel
by Richard Flanagan

Paperback $14.00 - 10%

The standard model of good and evil is simple if not simplistic: Everybody on our side is good, and everybody on their side is bad. For anyone in the post-9/11 world who still believes this, Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist should be required reading — with eyelids pinned open, if necessary, and forced to look. Flanagan, whose previous works are set in his native Tasmania, turns his unflinching gaze toward modern-day Sydney, in the aftermath of a terror bomb scare. Over three scorching summer days, we follow a dissolute cast: an exotic dancer, an opportunistic journalist and a populace blinded by the politics of fear.

The dancer is a mysterious girl trying to remake her life following personal tragedy. Though she has a full name — Gina Davies — she is known simply as the Doll. Objectified and alluring, she lives her life in a semi-robotic attempt to reject romantic dreams and embrace life’s hard realities. Life is something she can and will control, the way she controls a man by making him want her, and then slipping away, unattainable.

Her circumstances are nothing like ours, yet her tastes are all-too familiar. She hungers for the Versace this and the Prada that, pops Zoloft and Stemetil, designer labels and designer tranquilizers melding into the same illusion of meaning and security. She saves to buy a house, the Australian dream, a $50,000 down-payment almost in her grasp. She keeps her savings in cash, ill-gotten gains that will be used against her in ways she can’t imagine. Nightly she engages in an outlandish routine, covering her naked body in $100 bills, as if the money or the ritual itself can somehow shield her. Despite these and other eccentricities, the Doll is emotionally fragile and utterly human.

But not to Richard Cody, an on-camera reporter for a Fox-like news station, yellow journalist to the core. Cody isn’t evil, but he is desperate. His job in television news is not about truth, but about “the art of making a sow’s ear out of a silk purse.” He faces demotion within a conglomerate that produces news by the credo that “people don’t want the truth.” People want a story, and Cody’s looking for that story even as he pays the Doll to take her clothes off.

He finds it after the Doll meets a handsome young Arab named Tariq. They run into each other at Mardi Gras, amid an evening of parading excess, of “Dykes on Bikes” and “Scats with Hats.” When they sleep together, the Doll is unexpectedly moved. But after a passionate one-nighter, Tariq disappears, and the Doll glides through the next day on the fringes of police barricades and storming SWAT teams, a terrorist search that brings Sydney to the brink of hysteria. Then, on television, she sees grainy security-camera footage of herself with Tariq, entering his apartment building, beneath a strident voice-over: “Terrorist suspect . . . with a female accomplice.”

Tariq is obviously a terrorist — or is he? After he is fingered by ASIO, Australia’s version of Homeland Security, his guilt slides along runners well-oiled by ethnic prejudice and faith in authority. When Cody sees that video, he not only recognizes the Doll, he sees his professional salvation, and the inexorable train-wreck begins.

Flanagan ushers us through a modern-day looking glass, with Cody “piecing together not so much the truth of Gina Davies’ life as rehearsing the story he would present about it.” The mysteries that once made the Doll inscrutable and even successful become the lies that make her Australia’s “Unknown Terrorist.” Shock-jocks rant, spies manipulate the truth, terror experts pontificate, and the entire nation cries for blood in a thunderstorm of fear. The Doll’s fate is as inevitable as it is horrible, grinding toward a bloody end — or so it would seem.

Flanagan’s tightly crafted narrative is akin to the oppressive power of Kafka’s Trial, or Capote’s In Cold Blood, stark realism revealing underlying sickness. His prose glitters and shrieks with spare vitality: “Anyone not working had retreated indoors and taken refuge near their air con vents and in cold beer and chilled wines. Some watched something on television and afterwards couldn’t remember whether it was sport or reality tv or a documentary on Hitler. Some surfed the net looking at porn or eBay. . . . Most did nothing. It was difficult to sleep, yet almost impossible to move. It was easy to be irritated about everything that was of no consequence, yet care about nothing that mattered.”

Here lies Flanagan’s real point: In a world of terror and the ensuing decay of personal liberties, the fault lies not in remote devils or political adversaries, but in ourselves. He moves his plot at a thriller’s pace, and we can’t take our eyes off it. It’s about us, after all, and our new realities, a disturbing gaze at the social and psychological mechanisms of terror. In this world, violent necessity dominates, and someone — maybe anyone — must be tracked and killed for people to feel safe for a little while longer.

these just in … 14 January, 2008

David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair (Everyman’s Library)
by Irene Nemirovsky, Translated by Sandra Smith

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

In 2006 English readers worldwide were introduced to Irène Némirovsky’s rediscovered masterpiece, Suite Française, which topped just about every “best of” list that year, including our own. Thanks to the editors of the Everyman’s Library 20th-Century Classics series, a second wave of the prolific author’s writing has just hit our shores. In a single volume, readers can find four of Nemirovsky’s gem-like early novellas-David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair-with all the trimmings: a shrewd introduction by Claire Messud (The Emperor’s Children) and a detailed chronology of the author’s life and times. These first novellas demonstrate Némirovsky’s genius for exposing an individual’s virtues and flaws, much like a jeweler examining a diamond under a loupe. Potentially one-dimensional characters such as a greedy businessman or a spiteful teenager emerge from these stories as multi-faceted figures whose questionable beliefs and actions compel us to re-examine our own. Don’t miss these short, but potent tales.

Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones (33 1/3 Series)
by David Smay

Paperback $10.95

Two entwined narratives run through the creation of Swordfishtrombones and form the backbone of this book. As the 1970s ended, Waits felt increasingly constrained and trapped by his persona and career. Bitter and desperately unhappy, he moved to New York in 1979 to change his life. It wasn’t working. But at his low point, he got the phone call that changed everything: Francis Ford Coppola tapped Tom to write the score for One From the Heart. Waits moved back to Los Angeles to work at Zoetrope’s Hollywood studio for the next 18 months. He cleaned up, disciplined himself as a songwriter and musician, collaborated closely with Coppola, and met a script analyst named Kathleen Brennan - his “only true love”.

They married within 2 months at the Always and Forever Yours Wedding Chapel at 2am. Swordfishtrombones was the first thing Waits recorded after his marriage, and it was at Kathleen’s urging that he made a record that conceded exactly nothing to his record label, or the critics, or his fans. There aren’t many love stories where the happy ending sounds like a paint can tumbling in an empty cement mixer.

Kathleen Brennan was sorely disappointed by Tom’s record collection. She forced him out of his comfortable jazzbo pocket to take in foreign film scores, German theatre, and Asian percussion. These two stories of a man creating that elusive American second act, and also finding the perfect collaborator in his wife give this book a natural forward drive.

Critique of Everyday Life (3-volume Boxed Set)
by Henri Lefebvre (Author), Translated by John Moore & Gregory Elliott

Paperback $60.00

“The more needs a human being has, the more he exists,” quips Lefebvre in a savage critique of consumerist society, first published in 1947. The French philosopher, historian and Marxist sociologist, who died this summer at age 90, meditates on the dehumanization and ugliness smuggled into daily life under cover of purity, utility, beauty. He deconstructs leisure as a form of social control, spanks surrealism for its turning away from reality, and attempts to get past the “mystification” inherent in bourgeois life by analyzing Chaplin’s films, Brecht’s epic theater, peasant festivals, daydreams, Rimbaud and the rhythms of work and relaxation. Rejecting the inauthentic, which he perceives in a church service or in rote work from which one is alienated, Lefebvre nevertheless seeks to unearth the human potential that may be inherent in such rituals.

Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself (NYRB Classics)
by Robert Montgomery Bird

Paperback $16.95

Popular and well-regarded in his time as a playwright and novelist, Bird (1806-1854) has slipped out of American literature, but this 1830s medley of satire mingled with moral philosophy, while a period artifact, riffs winningly on the social and political culture of Bird’s America. Hoping to find buried treasure, the indolent Lee stumbles upon a “stone dead” neighbor. No sooner does he utter, “Oh, that I might be Squire Higginson!” than his wish is granted. Alas, Lee finds himself not only “with the gout and a scolding wife,” but accused of murdering himself. Thus begin his peregrinations by metempsychosis, with a lesson to be had from each new body taken. As Dulmer Dawkins, Lee finds that the price of being “a favorite among the women” is debt. Arriving South a few jumps later, Lee becomes Nigger Tom, a body he soon exigently escapes, only to pick a body that suffers from “dyspepsy.” From there, Lee explores the animal world (a dog), the inanimate (a coffee pot), and the dubiously historical (a French emperor). The various morals, as clear as they are, don’t spoil the fun of following Lee as he tries to get back to the farm.

Contemporary Russian Poetry: An Anthology
Edited by Evgeny Bunimovitch, Translated by J. Kates

Paperback $14.95

Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Hopeless Romantic (Paperback)
by Christopher Phillips

Paperback $14.95

Christopher Phillips goes to the heart of philosophy and Socratic discourse to discover what we’re all looking for: the kind of love that makes life worthwhile. That is, love not defined only as eros, or erotic love, but in all its classical varieties. Love of neighbor, love of country, love of God, love of life, and love of wisdom. Phillips’s explorations take us from New Orleans at Mardi Gras and the gambling dens of Las Vegas to the last evangelical revival presided over by Billy Graham. He talks with moms and dads about “parent love,” with inmates of a maximum-security prison about “unconditional love,” with Hurricane Katrina refugees and a family who took them in, and with Japanese seniors and schoolchildren in Hiroshima Peace Park. Throughout, he enriches his dialogues with commentary on the great philosophers of love from the ancients to Rumi to Ayn Rand and Anaïs Nin.

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton
by Carl Bernstein

Paperback $15.95

A Woman in Charge is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein’s illuminating account of Hillary Rodham Clinton, revealing the complex of motivations and machinations behind her extraordinary life and career. Drawing on over 200 interviews with Clinton associates (both colleagues and adversaries), as well as major pieces written by and about the former First Lady, Bernstein has constructed an indelible portrait of perhaps the most polarizing figure in American politics, from her midwestern roots to her own presidential ambitions.

American Movie Critics: From Silents Until Now
by Phillip Lopate

Paperback $19.95

by Howard Norman

Paperback $13.95

Norman’s intriguing, if at times baffling, sixth novel opens with a fight between Canadians David Kozol and his father-in-law, William Field, outside a hotel in London “on the morning of August 19, 1985.” That date is important—it’s just days after Kozol’s marriage to William’s daughter, Maggie—and an ensuing accident seriously injures William, the caretaker of a Nova Scotia estate on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy. The result is a particularly strange domestic situation: Kozol assumes William’s duties on the estate; Maggie refuses to see her husband; William vows revenge on his son-in-law. Uncovering why the men were fighting and what separates the young couple drives the plot. Norman (The Bird Artist) uses the avian world as a counterpoint to the human one. William is devoted to the swans on the estate; Maggie wants in her own life the kind of devotion the swans embody. This quirky story deals with a powerful theme: how love endures despite our best efforts to sabotage it.

Streetwear: The Insider’s Guide
by Steven Vogel

Paperback $25.00

The first definitive guide to clothes inspired by urban youth culture, written and produced by those involved in this fast-growing fashion force, Streetwear offers an insider’s view of this subculture phenomenon-cum-industry. Hundreds of sketches, graphics, and photos present an encyclopedic overview of street style and fashion, while candid interviews bring together more than forty leading streetwear designers from around the world. Streetwear focuses not only on designers, but also on the magazines, Web publishers, and creative agencies that help drive these trends today. With its unique access and detailed reference section, Streetwear is the new bible for urban culture enthusiasts, documenting the appeal of a style that has exploded across the globe.

Hand Job: A Catalog of Type
by Michael Perry

Paperback $35.00

Chock-full of inspiration for designers an eye candy for those who just dress like them. Hand Job is about the next generation of superstars, from frighteningly talented students to rising taste makers Deanne Cheuk and Kevin Lyons. It’s hours of fun.

by Adam Mornement

Hardcover $40.00 - 10%

The vast majority of architects cut their teeth designing small-scale additions to private homes. Extensions can be added to roofs, gardens, and underneath buildings or can even be strapped on to the sides.

Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into chapters featuring 40 projects that extend spaces up, down, to the rear, to the side, on the roof, internally, and outdoors. Each case study explains how the architects faced design challenges at the same time as meeting their clients’ needs. Details covered include choice of materials, planning issues, time, and cost.

The book also raises issues that clients ought to consider when commissioning an architect to design an extension, from developing a brief to the finished product. At the end of the book there is practical advice for anyone thinking about extending their own property.

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
by Neil Shubin

Hardcover $24.00 - 10%

A Note from Author Neil Shubin

This book grew out of an extraordinary circumstance in my life. On account of faculty departures, I ended up directing the human anatomy course at the University of Chicago medical school. Anatomy is the course during which nervous first-year medical students dissect human cadavers while learning the names and organization of most of the organs, holes, nerves, and vessels in the body. This is their grand entrance to the world of medicine, a formative experience on their path to becoming physicians. At first glance, you couldn’t have imagined a worse candidate for the job of training the next generation of doctors: I’m a fish paleontologist.

It turns out that being a paleontologist is a huge advantage in teaching human anatomy. Why? The best roadmaps to human bodies lie in the bodies of other animals. The simplest way to teach students the nerves in the human head is to show them the state of affairs in sharks. The easiest roadmap to their limbs lies in fish. Reptiles are a real help with the structure of the brain. The reason is that the bodies of these creatures are simpler versions of ours.

During the summer of my second year leading the course, working in the Arctic, my colleagues and I discovered fossil fish that gave us powerful new insights into the invasion of land by fish over 375 million years ago. That discovery and my foray into teaching human anatomy led me to a profound connection. That connection became this book.

I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir
by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Hardcover $23.95 - 10%

house…and making peace with the ghosts that dwell in our hearts.

For Jennifer Boylan, creaking stairs, fleeting images in the mirror, and the remote whisper of human voices were everyday events in the Pennsylvania house in which she grew up in the 1970s. But these weren’t the only specters beneath the roof of the mansion known as the “Coffin House.” Jenny herself—born James—lived in a haunted body, and both her mysterious, diffident father and her wild, unpredictable sister would soon become ghosts to Jenny as well.

I’m Looking Through You is an engagingly candid investigation of what it means to be “haunted.” Looking back on the spirits who invaded her family home, Boylan launches a full investigation with the help of a group of earnest, if questionable, ghostbusters. Boylan also examines the ways we find connections between the people we once were and the people we become. With wit and eloquence, Boylan shows us how love, forgiveness, and humor help us find peace—with our ghosts, with our loved ones, and with the uncanny boundaries, real and imagined, between men and women.

Best Sellers … 14 January, 2008

BookCourt Best Sellers                                                                                                             

January 14, 2008                                         20% off list price

Hardcover Fiction
  1. DIARY OF A BAD YEAR. J. Coetzee. Penguin. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  2. BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. Junot Diaz. Riverhead.  $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  3. YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. Michael Chabon. HarperCollins. $26.95.                 Our Price $21.56.
  4. THEN WE CAME TO THE END. Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown. $23.99.                          Our Price $19.19.
  5. McSWEENEY’S ISSUE 25. Dave Eggers. McSweeney’s. $22. Our Price $17.60.
  6. MY MISTRESS’S SPARROW IS DEAD. Jeffrey Eugenides. HarperCollins. $24.95.             Our Price $19.96.
  7. TREE OF SMOKE. Denis Johnson. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27. Our Price $21.60.
  8. OUT STEALING HORSES. Per Petterson. Graywolf. $22. Our Price $17.60.
  9. MOOMIN BOOK 1. Tove Jansson. Drawn & Quarterly. $19.95. Our Price $15.96.
  10. THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead. $25.95.                             Our Price $20.76.

Hardcover Nonfiction

  1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $21.95. Our Price $17.56.
  2. ART OF SIMPLE FOOD. Alice Waters. Random House. $35. Our Price $28.
  3. ROAST CHICKEN & OTHER STORIES. Simon Hopkinson. Hyperion. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  4. 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL.                      Matthew Frederick. MIT Press. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  5. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. Mark Bittman. Wiley. $35. Our Price $28.
  6. LITTLE BOOK OF THE SEA. Lorenz Schroter. MacAdam/Cage. $15.                      Our Price $12.
  7. SECRET INGREDIENTS. David Remnnick. Random House. $29.95.Our Price $21.56
  8. LANDMARK HERODOTUS. Robert Strassler. Random House. $35. Our Price $28.
  9. MUSICOPHILIA. Oliver Sacks. Random House. $26. Our Price $20.80.
  10. BORN STANDING UP. Steve Martin. Simon & Schuster. $25. Our Price $20.
Paperback Fiction
  1. THE GATHERING. Anne Enright. Grove Press. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  2. THE ROAD. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  3. MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. Jonathan Lethem. Random House. $13.95.    Our Price $11.16.
  4. KITE RUNNER. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead. $15. Our Price $12.
  5. ATONEMENT. Ian McEwan. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  6. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. Sara Gruen. Algonquin. $13.95. Our Price $11.16.
  7. EMPEROR’S CHILDREN. Claire Messud. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  8. SUITE FRANCAISE. Irene Nemirovsky. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  9. FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE. Jonathan Lethem. Random House. $14.95.   Our Price $11.96.
  10. ECHO MAKER. Richard Powers. St. Martin’s Press. $15. Our Price $12.

    Paperback Nonfiction

  1. BROOKLYN WAS MINE. Chris Knutsen & Valerie Steiker (editors). Riverhead. $15. Our Price $12.
  2. DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY. Jean-Dominique Bauby. Random House. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  3. EAT, PRAY, LOVE.  Elizabeth Gilbert. Penguin. $15. Our Price $12.
  4. ZAGAT BEST OF BROOKLYN. Zagat Survey. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  5. OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $16. Our Price $12.80.
  6. CATCHING THE BIG FISH. David Lynch. Tarcher. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  7. ZAGAT NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS 2008. Zagat Survey. $15.95.  Our Price $12.76.
  8. WORKS. Kate Asher. Penguin. $20. Our Price $16.
  9. COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS. Marjane Satrapi. Random House.$24.95.Our Price $19.96
  10. DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. Barack Obama. Random House. $14.95.  Our Price $11.96.

    Children’s Hardcover & Paperback

  1. THIS IS NEW YORK. M. Sasek. Universe. $17.95. Our Price $14.36.
  2. GOODNIGHT MOON Board Book. Margaret Wise Brown. HarperCollins. $8.99. Our Price $7.19.
  3. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Roderick Rules. Jeff Kinney. Abrams. $12.95.                  Our Price $10.36.
  4. MEN & GODS. Rex Warner. New York Review of Books. $16.95. Our Price $13.56.
  5. SNAIL & THE WHALE. Julia Donaldson. Penguin. $6.99. Our Price $5.59.
  6. GOLDEN COMPASS (deluxe edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $11.95.  Our Price $9.56.
  7. AMBER SPYGLASS (trade edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $7.50.                Our Price $6.
  8. NUTSHELL LIBRARY. Maurice Sendak. HarperCollins. $16.95. Our Price $13.56.
  9. VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR (board book). Eric Carle. Putnam. $10.99.           Our Price $8.79.
  10. SUBTLE KNIFE (trade edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $7.50.                  Our Price $6.

these just in … 8 January, 2008

The Essential Feminist Reader
Edited by Estelle Freedman

Paperback $17.95

The Essential Feminist Reader is the first anthology to present the full scope of feminist history. Prizewinning historian Estelle B. Freedman brings decades of teaching experience and scholarship to her selections, which span more than five centuries. Moving beyond standard texts by English and American thinkers, this collection features primary source material from around the globe, including short works of fiction and drama, political manifestos, and the work of less well-known writers.

Freedman’s cogent Introduction assesses the challenges facing feminism, while her accessible, lively commentary contextualizes each piece. The Essential Feminist Reader is a vital addition to feminist scholarship, and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of women.
Where Men Hide
by James B. Twitchell, with photographs by Ken Ross

Paperback $19.95

The author of AdCULT USA and Lead Us into Temptation takes a vacation from consumer culture to explore male spaces, from the recliner to the boxing ring, with photographer Ross. An affable guide, Twitchell mourns the demise of the men-only barbershop, puzzles over the “dreariness” of male lairs and wanders into the cross-cultural history of deer hunting. His vivid personal accounts of, say, his fascination with Saddam Hussein’s spider hole breathe life into what could have been a fusty set of clichés. Twitchell dissects Ross’s photos of male insularity and advertisements reassuring men they can get away from it all. But in the end the book arrives at the obvious conclusion: men make their own spaces for good or ill, and these spaces are changing. He also falls into sweeping generalization (”Women go to convents to do good work. Men go to monasteries to get away from women”). Still, he is that rare thing in cultural studies, a raconteur, and his generalizations are sometimes thought provoking, as when he discusses why men-only groups are a selling point of megachurches. For men who like to think about manhood—but not too hard—and women who are wondering what the attraction is of that grimy garage, Twitchell makes an entertaining companion.

Frost: A Novel
by Thomas Bernhard

Paperback $14.95

A student’s increasingly erratic dispatches over 27 days comprise this obsessive first novel by Bernhard (1931–1989), published to European acclaim in 1963. An unnamed medical student is sent from Vienna by his supervisor, an eminent surgeon named Strauch, to undertake “precise observation” of the surgeon’s brother, a famous painter who has suddenly left the city for the “dismal” village of Weng. After “systematically inveigling” himself into the company of the painter under the pretense of being a vacationing law student, the student slowly feels his own mood and mental attitudes being subsumed by the painter’s paranoid outbursts and disjointed monologues. Weng itself, located in a grim valley still bearing the grisly traces of WWII, is a hotbed of murky scandal: the landlady sleeps with the village knacker (handyman), while her husband, against whom she testified in a murder trial, sits in jail; a traveling show appears in the village displaying “deformed women and deformed animals”; a barn is torched. All are dutifully reported by the disintegrating student. Bernhard’s glorious talent for bleak existential monologues is second only to Beckett’s, and seems to have sprung up fully mature in his mesmerizing debut.

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
by Rob Sheffield

Paperback $13.00

Music critic Sheffield’s touching and poignant memoir of love and death will strike a chord in anyone who has used a hand-selected set of songs to try to express something that can’t be put into words. A socially awkward adolescent, Sheffield finds true love as a college student in the late ’80s with Renée, a “hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl.” They’re brought together by their love of music, get married and spend eight years together before Renée suddenly dies of a pulmonary embolism. Sheffield’s delivery is not that of the typical actor/ reader. We come to know Rob as this geeky, lanky guy, and his reading is characteristically a little bit uncoordinated, yet it is tender and heartfelt enough to win us over. Each chapter opens with a song list from a mix tape made at the time. Listeners may wish that, as with Nick Hornby’s essay collection Songbook, there had been an audio component that would allow the music to take us back or would introduce us to new songs that helped Sheffield press on into an uncertain but hopeful future.

House of Meetings
by Martin Amis

Paperback $14.00

With The House of Meetings, Martin Amis may finally have written the novel his critics thought would never come. By taming his signature (and polarizing) stylistic high-wire act, Amis has crafted a sober tale of love and cynicism against the grim curtain of Stalin’s Russia. The book’s anonymous narrator-a Red Army veteran and unapologetic war criminal-and his passive, poetic half-brother, Lev, become pinned in a politically dangerous love triangle with the exotic Zoya, though their tactics (and intentions) are as divergent as their personalities. Swept up in the wave of Stalin’s paranoid purges, the brothers are sent independently to Norlag, a Siberian internment camp where their respective fates are cast through their contrasting reactions to the depravity of the prison. Zoya and Lev share a night in “The House of Meetings,” a room provided for conjugal visits with the prisoners, and the events of that night reverberate through the decades, the details of the liaison remaining concealed until the story’s devastating denouement. Amis’s main achievement is his depiction of the cruel realities of the Soviet gulags. Drawing heavily on his research for Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, his half-history/half-memoir of political imprisonment and mass killing in Soviet Russia, Amis has created his own Animal Farm-without metaphors to mask the blood, filth, and death of the camps. Amis vividly recreates the social structure of gulag life, as the inmates and guards sort themselves into distinct hierarchies and stations in their struggles to survive the rigors of the gulag. Here The House of Meetings may accomplish what Amis had intended for the unfocused Koba: to cast a searing light on an often overlooked episode of 20th century inhumanity, injustice, and murder.

The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel
by Heidi Julavits

Paperback $13.95

On November 7, 1985, Mary Veal, 16, a not especially distinguished upper-middle-class girl, disappears from New England’s Semmering Academy. A month later she reappears at Semmering, claiming amnesia, but hinting at abduction and ravishment. The events in Believer editor Julavits’s third, beautifully executed novel take place on three levels: one, dedicated to “what might have happened,” is the story of the supposedly blank interval; another is dedicated to the inevitable therapeutic aftermath, as Mary’s therapist, Dr. Hammer, tries to discover whether Mary is lying, either about the abduction or the amnesia; and the present of the novel, which revolves around the funeral of Mary’s mother, Paula, in 1999. There, Mary feels not only the hostility of her sisters, Regina (an unsuccessful poet) and Gaby (a disheveled lesbian) but Paula’s posthumous hostility. Or is that an illusion? This structure delicately balances between gothic and comic, allowing Julavits to play variations on Mary’s life and on the ’80s moral panic of repressed memory syndromes and wild fears of child abuse. While Julavits (The Effect of Living Backwards) sometimes lets an overheated style distract from her central story, as its various layers coalesce, the mystery of what did happen to Mary Veal will enthrall the reader to the very last page.

The Deviant’s Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious
by Dennis DiClaudio

Paperback $14.95

So you like animals. Everyone likes animals. But if you really, really like animals—or clowns, or trees, or dressing up in a fur suit before you enter the bedroom—then this book is for you. The Deviant’s Pocket Guide is an unerringly witty and surprisingly comprehensive pocket encyclopedia of the absurd and hilarious fantasies we indulge in the bedroom. As DiClaudio puts it, “human sexuality is a lovely and complex flower,” and this book is a colorful testament to that. In its pages, you will find clowns, balloons, hot rods, shoes, and a curio cabinet’s worth of other unlikely sexual objects.

Each of the forty illustrated encyclopedia entries is broken down into relevant sections, including a narrative fantasy typical of the fetish, the speculated psychological origins, and a few other factoids to complete the picture. The Deviant’s Pocket Guide is a look into our collective medicine cabinets: clever, devious, and surprisingly thorough—a handbook of our best-kept secrets, difficult to put down and impossible to ignore.

by Lynne Cox

Paperback $13.00

On a clear California morning when Cox (Swimming to Antarctica) was 17 years old, she had an unusual experience that stayed with her for 30 years, creating a spiritual foundation for her personal and professional success. In this slim and crisp memoir, Cox details a morning swim off the coast of California that took an unexpected turn: returning to shore, she discovered that she was being followed by a baby gray whale that had been separated from its mother. As Cox developed a rapport with the whale, she took on the responsibility of keeping it at sea until it was reunited with its mother. Cox expertly weaves fine details together, from the whale’s mushroomlike skin to how other fish react to such a large creature. At times Cox’s prose is uneven, alternating from emotional to factual, but her pure joy at connecting with Grayson (her name for the baby whale) overrides any technical inconsistencies. The combination of retelling her once-in-a-lifetime experience with her observations on life (”If I try, if I believe, if I work toward something… the impossible isn’t impossible at all”) will have timeless appeal for all ages.

Letter to a Christian Nation
by Sam Harris

Paperback $11.00

Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. In fact, it has been by no means uncommon for a child to be born into this world only to be patiently and lovingly reared by religious maniacs, who believe that the best way to keep the sun on its course or to ensure a rich harvest is to lead him by tender hand into a field or to a mountaintop and bury, butcher, or burn him alive as offering to an invisible God. The notion that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that his death constitutes a successful propitiation of a “loving” God is a direct and undisguised inheritance of the superstitious bloodletting that has plagued bewildered people throughout history. . .

Ralph Ellison: A Biography
by Arnold Rampersad

Paperback $17.95

On the strength of just one novel, as well as a series of lasting essays in cultural criticism, Ralph Ellison stands as one of the major literary figures of the last century. The novel, of course, is Invisible Man, and much of the drama of Ellison’s life, as told by Arnold Rampersad in the first major biography of Ellison, is twofold: how Ellison came to write his masterwork, and how he failed to write another. Given complete access to Ellison’s papers, Rampersad tells the story of Ellison’s long apprenticeship as a musician and writer and his long life, full of honors and frustrations, after the great success of Invisible Man, capturing the complexities, to use of one of Ellison’s favorite words, of his elusive subject, at once passionate and patrician, fiercely critical of his country’s racial divisions and stubbornly hopeful about its democratic possibilities.

At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches
by Susan Sontag

Paperback $15.00

The world lost a brilliant, passionate, and ethical thinker and writer when Susan Sontag died in December 2004. In his moving foreword to this collection of resonant essays and speeches, Sontag’s son, David Rieff, writes that his mother “was interested in everything. Indeed, if I had only one word with which to evoke her, it would be avidity.” But for all her arresting insights into photography and other arts, literature was Sontag’s true love, and nowhere else has she so directly addressed what literature accomplishes. Sontag was working on this book at the end of her life, and it is a generously personal volume addressing her greatest ardors and gravest concerns. Here is Sontag on beauty, Russian literature, and the art of literary translation. Here, too, are Sontag’s clarion writings on Israel, 9/11, and Abu Ghraib. Although Sontag was happiest writing fiction, she never failed to celebrate the work of others or protest injustice and brutality, and in this she was both artist and hero. More posthumous works are promised.

these just in … 7 January, 2008

The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems
by Charles Bukowski

Paperback $13.95

In a posthumously published poem, Bukowski says he’s succeeded “If you read this after I am long dead.” By that standard, he is indeed a success: this fifth—and purportedly last—posthumous book published since his death in 1994 offers his still-large audience more of what made Bukowski (1921–1994) and his hard-drinking alter ego Henry Chinaski famous, as chronicled, for example, in the films Barfly and Factotum. Rapid, chatty free verse records his devotion to racehorses, boxing and drinking; his sexual exploits and failures; his contempt for highbrow, hoity-toity literati, and his countervailing yearnings for literary fame. Early on, the poems show unapologetic nostalgia: in “the 1930s,” “the landlord/ only got his rent/ when you had/ it.” Some of the most memorable poems here record the poet’s anxieties and delights while caring for his daughter. The final pages are devoted to fate, last things, old age, mortality and retrospectives on Bukowski’s hard-drinking, prolific career: “we were not put here to/ enjoy easy days and/ nights.” Bukowski’s style did not change in his last years; readers who have already written him off are unlikely to change their minds. Fans, however, may discover one of his strongest, most affecting books.

Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties
by Robert Stone

Paperback $13.95

It’s a long, strange trip that’s navigated in this engaging memoir. Novelist Stone (A Hall of Mirrors) recounts his salad days from a stint in the navy in the late 1950s to a desultory trip to Vietnam as a correspondent during the disastrous 1971 invasion of Laos. Stone largely sat out the civil rights and antiwar movements and cops to no ideology beyond “ordinary decency.” His bailiwick was the relatively apolitical counterculture, which dawned for him when he took in Coltrane, Lenny Bruce and peyote in San Francisco in the early ’60s and really kicked in when he entered the circle of literary provocateur and psychedelic guru Ken Kesey, the book’s presiding genius. Memorable encounters with hallucinogens, and the resulting states of heightened awareness and stoned reflection, therefore loom large. But Stone’s story, from a cross-country bus trip in which he ran a gauntlet of antihippie persecution to a stint crafting lurid headlines and freakish fables for sleazy supermarket tabloids, is also a funny, entertaining picaresque. (His big-picture ruminations—say, on the links between the CIA, the drug culture and Silicon Valley—sometimes have a period-authentic muzziness.) But Stone is a born storyteller, with a wonderful feel for place and character that vividly evokes the cultural gulf America crossed in that decade.

A Father’s Law
by Richard Wright

Paperback $14.95

Never before published, the final work of one of America’s greatest writers

A Father’s Law is the novel Richard Wright, acclaimed author of Black Boy and Native Son, never completed. Written during a six-week period near the end of his life, it appears in print for the first time, an important addition to this American master’s body of work, submitted by his daughter and literary executor, Julia, who writes:

It comes from his guts and ends at the hero’s “breaking point.” It explores many themes favored by my father like guilt and innocence, the difficult relationship between the generations, the difficulty of being a black policeman and father, the difficulty of being both those things and suspecting that your own son is the murderer. It intertwines astonishingly modern themes for a novel written in 1960.

Prescient, raw, powerful, and fascinating, A Father’s Law is the final gift from a literary giant.

You Suck: A Love Story
by Christopher Moore

Paperback $13.95

Moore’s latest (after 2006’s A Dirty Job) is a cheerfully perverse, gut-busting tale of young vampires in love. Nineteen-year-old Tommy is a bewildered hipster recently relocated to San Francisco from Incontinence, Ind. His sarcastic redhead (and bloodsucking) girlfriend, Jody, brings him into the fold of the undead (”I wanted us to be together,” she says). Tommy, understandably, has mixed feelings; vampirism has its perks (you can turn to mist, live forever and the sex is awesome), but sunlight is death and blood hunger makes you do some pretty foul things. Also, the duo is hunted by Elijah, the ancient vampire who “turned” Jody and wants her back, and a band of Safeway stock boys/amateur vampire hunters known as the Animals (with whom pre–dark side Tommy once rolled). With the assistance of their devoted minion, goth girl Abby Normal, whose hilarious diary entries form part of the narrative, Tommy and Jody evade their pursuers, feeding at night and conking out at dawn, all the while learning how vampirism complicates love. Moore writes with the jittery energy of a brilliant, charming class clown, mixing sex and gore and a potty mouth with a goofy-sweet sensibility to deliver laughs on nearly every page.

The Power of the Vote: Electing Presidents, Overthrowing Dictators, and Promoting Democracy Around the World
by Douglas E. Schoen

Paperback $15.95

In The Power of the Vote, Douglas E. Schoen—one of the premier strategists in the history of Democratic politics—offers a never-before-seen glimpse inside the most pivotal campaigns of his storied career, providing an essential primer for understanding the elections of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

From the legendary New York City mayoral race of 1977 to his twenty-year efforts to modernize Israeli politics to Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign, Schoen takes you on a fascinating, eye-opening ride across the international political landscape of the past three decades. Demonstrating how politics has evolved and how he has utilized the latest technology to help candidates win the hearts and minds of the public, he also presents a detailed discussion of the strategies and tactics that will shape the future of electoral politics and lead the Democrats back to the White House in 2008.

Mules and Men      *New Edition
by Zora Neale Hurston

Paperback $13.95

Mules and Men is a treasury of black America’s folklore as collected by a famous storyteller and anthropologist who grew up hearing the songs and sermons, sayings and tall tales that have formed an oral history of the South since the time of slavery. Returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, to gather material, Zora Neale Hurston recalls “a hilarious night with a pinch of everything social mixed with the storytelling.” Set intimately within the social context of black life, the stories, “big old lies,” songs, Vodou customs, and superstitions recorded in these pages capture the imagination and bring back to life the humor and wisdom that is the unique heritage of African Americans.

Hell and High Water: The Global Warming Solution
by Joe Romm

Paperback $13.95

Global warming is the story of the twenty-first century. It is the most serious issue facing the future of humankind, but American energy and environmental policy is driving the whole world down a path toward global catastrophe. According to Joseph Romm, we have ten years, at most, to start making sharp cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions, or we will face disastrous consequences. The good news, he writes, is that there is something we can do—but only if the leadership of the U.S. government acts immediately and asserts its influence on the rest of the world.

Hell and High Water is nothing less than a wake-up call to the country. It is a searing critique of American environmental and energy policy, and a passionate call to action by a writer with a unique command of the science and politics of climate change.

Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis (Hardcover)
by George Makari

Hardcover $32.50 - 10%

A masterful history of one of the most important movements of our time, Revolution in Mind is a brilliant, engaging, and radically new work—the first ever to fully account for the making of psychoanalysis. In a sweeping narrative, George Makari demonstrates how a new way of thinking about inner life coalesced and won followers who spread this body of thought throughout the West. Along the way he introduces the reader to a fascinating array of characters, many of whom have been long ignored or forgotten.

Amid great ferment, Sigmund Freud emerged as a creative, interdisciplinary thinker who devised a riveting new theory of the mind that attracted acolytes from the very fields the Viennese doctor had mined for his synthesis. These allies included Eugen Bleuler, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler, all of whom eventually broke away and accused the Freudian community of being unscientific. Makari reveals how in the wake of these crises, innovators like Sándor Ferenczi, Wilhelm Reich, Melanie Klein, and others reformed psychoanalysis, which began to gain wide acceptance only to be banished from the continent and sent into exile due to the rise of fascism.

Groundbreaking, insightful, and compulsively readable, Revolution in Mind goes beyond myth and polemic to give us the story of one of the most controversial intellectual endeavors of the twentieth century.

My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro
Edited by Jeffrey Eugenides

Hardcover $24.95 - 10%

It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price. I offer this book, then, as a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery. Read these love stories in the safety of your single bed. Let everybody else suffer.”-Jeffrey Eugenides, from the introduction to My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead

All proceeds from My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead will go directly to fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago. 826 Chicago is part of the network of seven writing centers across the United States affiliated with 826 National, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

A Golden Age: A Novel
by Tahmima Anam

Hardcover $24.95 - 10%

The experiences of a woman drawn into the 1971 Bangladesh war for independence illuminate the conflict’s wider resonances in Anam’s impressive debut, the first installment in a proposed trilogy. Rehana Haque is a widow and university student in Dhaka with two children, 17-year-old daughter Maya and 19-year-old son Soheil. As she follows the daily patterns of domesticity—cooking, visiting the cemetery, marking religious holidays—she is only dimly aware of the growing political unrest until Pakistani tanks arrive and the fighting begins. Suddenly, Rehana’s family is in peril and her children become involved in the rebellion. The elegantly understated restraint with which Anam recounts ensuing events gives credibility to Rehana’s evolution from a devoted mother to a woman who allows her son’s guerrilla comrades to bury guns in her backyard and who shelters a Bengali army major after he is wounded. The reader takes the emotional journey from atmospheric scenes of the marketplace to the mayhem of invasion, the ruin of the city, evidence of the rape and torture of Hindus and Bengali nationalists, and the stench and squalor of a refugee camp. Rehana’s metamorphosis encapsulates her country’s tragedy and makes for an immersive, wrenching narrative.

The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World
by Larry Diamond

Hardcover $28.00 - 10%

One of America’s preeminent experts on democracy charts the future prospects for freedom around the world in the aftermath of Iraq and deepening authoritarianism Over three decades, the world was transformed. In 1974, nearly three-quarters of all countries were dictatorships; today, more than half are democracies. Yet recent efforts to promote democracy have stumbled, and many democratic governments are faltering. In this bold and sweeping vision for advancing freedom around the world, social scientist Larry Diamond examines how and why democracy progresses. He demonstrates that the desire for democracy runs deep, even in very poor countries, and that seemingly entrenched regimes like Iran and China could become democracies within a generation. He also dissects the causes of the ‘democratic recession’ in critical states, including the crime-infested oligarchy in Russia and the strong-armed populism of Venezuela. Diamond cautions that arrogance and inconsistency have undermined America’s aspirations to promote democracy. To spur a renewed democratic boom, he urges vigorous support of good governance-the rule of law, security, protection of individual rights, and shared economic prosperity-and free civic organizations. Only then will the spirit of democracy be secured.
J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography
by Rick Geary

Hardcover $16.95 - 10%

In the hands of gifted cartoonist Rick Geary, J. Edgar Hoover’s life becomes a timely and pointed guide to eight presidents—from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon—and everything from Prohibition to cold war espionage. From a nascent FBI’s headlinegrabbing tracking down of Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly in the 1930s to Hoover’s increasingly paranoid post-WWII authorizing of illegal wiretaps, blackmail, and circumvention of Supreme Court decisions, J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography provides a special window into the life of an outsized American and a bird’seye view on the twentieth century.

You Must Be This Happy to Enter
by Elizabeth Crane

Paperback $14.95

Whether breathlessly enthusiastic, serenely calm, or really concentrating right now on their personal zombie issues, Elizabeth Crane’s happy cast explores the complexities behind personal satisfaction.

Elizabeth Crane is the author of two previous story collections, When the Messenger is Hot and All This Heavenly Glory. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications, including Chicago Reader and The Believer, as well as several anthologies, including McSweeney’s Future Dictionary of America and The Best Underground Fiction. A winner of the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, Crane teaches creative writing at Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, The School of the Art Institute, and The University of Chicago. She lives in Chicago.

by Michèle Roberts

Paperback $12.95

“On the narrative level alone, this is a compelling combination of Victorian pastiche and psychological thriller, fully and vividly imagined and often very funny. Rarely has the creative interaction of past and present been so suggestively and entertainingly conveyed.”-The Independent on Sunday

“On the surface a gripping mystery story, the novel is a challenging exploration of women’s friendships, history, sensuality and passion. Four main characters spanning three moments in history-ancient Egypt, Victorian England, contemporary London-unravel an ambivalent tale of birth, death, exploitation, closeness and betrayal.”-Guardian

Voices, auras, materializations. Is she a mere trickster, a charlatan who plays on the anguish of the bereaved, or perhaps a hysteric who suffers delusions? No matter, in the shabby brick precincts of East London, the sances have won the pretty, blond medium Flora Milk local acclaim, and soon she will find herself more comfortably situated in the Victorian household of Sir William Preston, a researcher of some renown in psychic phenomena. Indeed, his wife Minny, who is still grieving the loss of her infant daughter, will embrace the gifted sixteen-year-old as her “protge.”

At once a ghost story and a psychological thriller, this elegant novel again demonstrates that Michele Roberts is a literary talent of the highest order.

Michele Roberts is the author of eleven novels, including Daughters of the House, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, and Reader, I Married Him, also published by Pegasus Books. She lives in England.

I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagons Black World
by Trevor Paglen

Hardcover $22.95 - 10%

Shown here for the first time, these seventy-five patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names (”Goat Suckers,” “None of Your Fucking Business,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches-which are worn by military units working on classified missions-are precisely photographed, strangely hinting at a world about which little is known.

By submitting hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, the author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide to the patches included here, making this volume the best available survey of the military’s black world-a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.

Trevor Paglen is a geographer by training, and an expert on clandestine military installations. He leads expeditions to the secret bases of the American West and is the author, with A.C. Thompson, of Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights, which TheNew York Times praised as “the real thing . . . and not on the evening news.”

by Rex Warner (Author), Edward Gorey (Illustrator)

Hardcover $16.95 - 10%

This outstanding collection brings together the novelist and scholar Rex Warner’s knack for spellbinding storytelling with Edward Gorey’s inimitable talent as an illustrator in a memorable modern recounting of the most beloved myths of ancient Greece.
Writing in a relaxed and winning colloquial style, Warner vividly recreates the classic stories of Jason and the Argonauts and Theseus and the Minotaur, among many others, while Gorey’s quirky pen-and-ink sketches offer a visual interpretation of these great myths in the understated but brilliantly suggestive style that has gained him admirers throughout the world. These tales cover the range of Greek mythology, including the creation story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, the heroic adventures of Perseus, the fall of Icarus, Cupid and Psyche’s tale of love, and the tragic history of Oedipus and Thebes. Men and Gods is an essential and delightful book with which to discover some of the key stories of world literature.

The View from Castle Rock
by Alice Munro

Paperback $14.95

Alice Munro mines her rich family background, melding it with her own experiences and the transforming power of her brilliant imagination, to create perhaps her most powerful and personal collection yet.

A young boy, taken to Edinburgh’s Castle Rock to look across the sea to America, catches a glimpse of his father’s dream. Scottish immigrants experience love and loss on a journey that leads them to rural Ontario. Wives, mothers, fathers, and children move through uncertainty, ambivalence, and contemplation in these stories of hopes, adversity, and wonder. The View from Castle Rock reveals what is most essential in Munro’s art: her compassionate understanding of ordinary lives.

Black Hole
by Charles Burns

Paperback $17.95

The first issues of Charles Burns’s comics series Black Hole began appearing in 1995, and long before it was completed a decade later, readers and fellow artists were speaking of it in tones of awe and comparing it to recent classics of the form like Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes’s Ghost World. Burns is the sort of meticulous, uncompromising artist whom other artists speak of with envy and reverence, and we asked Ware and Clowes to comment on their admiration for Black Hole:

“I think I probably learned the most about clarity, composition, and efficiency from looking at Charles’s pages spread out on my drawing table than from anyone’s; his was always at the level of lucidity of Nancy, but with this odd, metallic tinge to it that left you feeling very unsettled, especially if you were an aspiring cartoonist, because it was clear you’d never be half as good as he was. There’s an almost metaphysical intensity to his pinprick-like inkline that catches you somewhere in the back of the throat, a paper-thin blade of a fine jeweler’s saw tracing the outline of these thick, clay-like human figures that somehow seem to “move,” but are also inevitably oddly frozen in eternal, awkward poses … it’s an unlikely combination of feelings, and it all adds up to something unmistakably his own.

“I must have been one of the first customers to arrive at the comic shop when I heard the first issue of Black Hole was out 10 years ago, and my excitement didn’t change over the years as he completed it. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that better captures the details, feelings, anxieties, smells, and cringing horror of my own teenage years better than Black Hole, and I’m 15 years younger than Charles is. Black Hole is so redolently affecting one almost has to put the book down for air every once in a while. By the book’s end, one ends up feeling so deeply for the main character it’s all one can do not to turn the book over and start reading again.” -Chris Ware

“Charles Burns is one of the greats of modern comics. His comics are beautiful on so many levels. Somehow he has managed to capture the essential electricity of comic-book pop-art iconography, dragging it from the clutches of Fine Art back to the service of his perfect, precise-but-elusive narratives in a way that is both universal in its instant appeal and deeply personal.” -Dan Clowes

McSweeney’s Issue 25
by Dave Eggers

Hardcover $22.00 - 10%

If issues were anniversaries, this one would have to be printed on silver plates. You could melt it in some sort of forge and then pound it on an anvil until you had a set of earrings. Instead, it’s a hardcover book with stories by a few old favorites—Steven Millhauser, Joyce Carol Oates, Padgett Powell—and more than half a dozen others, investigating everything from ape men to unlucky island-hoppers to what happens when Canadians go AWOL in Bosnia. Pound this one on an anvil and it’ll pound you right back.

Best Sellers … 7 January, 2008

BookCourt Best Sellers                                                                                                             

January 7, 2008                                         20% off list price

Hardcover Fiction
  1. DIARY OF A BAD YEAR. J. Coetzee. Penguin. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  2. BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. Junot Diaz. Riverhead.  $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  3. TREE OF SMOKE. Denis Johnson. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27. Our Price $21.60.
  4. THEN WE CAME TO THE END. Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown. $23.99.                          Our Price $19.19.
  5. WAR & PEACE. Leo Tolstoy (Pevear & Volokhonsky, translators). Random House. $37. Our Price $29.60.
  6. YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. Michael Chabon. HarperCollins. $26.95.             Our Price $21.56.
  7. THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead. $25.95.                                       Our Price $20.76.
  8. OUT STEALING HORSES. Per Petterson. Graywolf. $22. Our Price $17.60.
  9. OUR DUMB WORLD. The Onion. Little, Brown. $27.99. Our Price $22.39.
  10. AWAY. Amy Bloom. Random House. $23.95. Our Price $19.16.

Hardcover Nonfiction

  1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $21.95. Our Price $17.56.
  2. 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL.                     Matthew Frederick.. MIT Press. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  3. MUSICOPHILIA. Oliver Sacks. Random House. $26. Our Price $20.80.
  4. BORN STANDING UP. Steve Martin. Simon & Schuster. $25. Our Price $20.
  5. ART OF SIMPLE FOOD. Alice Waters. Random House. $35. Our Price $28.
  6. I AM AMERICA & SO CAN YOU. Stephen Colbert. Warner. $26.99.                       Our Price $21.59.
  7. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. Mark Bittman. Wiley. $35. Our Price $28.
  8. NINE. Jeffrey Toobin. Doubleday. $27.95. Our Price $22.36.
  9. PRINCIPLES OF UNCERTAINTY. Maira Kalman. Penguin. $29.95.                     Our Price $23.96.
  10. DISCOVERY OF FRANCE. Graham Robb. Norton. $27.95. Our Price $22.36.
Paperback Fiction
  1. THE ROAD. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  2. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. Sara Gruen. Algonquin. $13.95. Our Price $11.16.
  3. THE GATHERING. Anne Enright. Grove Press. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  4. EMPEROR’S CHILDREN. Claire Messud. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  5. WHAT IS THE WHAT? Dave Eggers. Random House. $15.95. Our Price $12.76.
  6. MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. Jonathan Lethem. Random House. $13.95.                        Our Price $11.16.
  7. SUITE FRANCAISE. Irene Nemirovsky. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  8. MAN GONE DOWN. Michael Thomas. Grove Press. $14. Our Price $11.20.
  9. ATONEMENT. Ian McEwan. Random House. $14.95. Our Price $11.96.
  10. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Cormac McCarthy. Random House. $14.              Our Price $11.20.

    Paperback Nonfiction

  1. BROOKLYN WAS MINE. Chris Knutsen & Valerie Steiker (editors). Riverhead. $15. Our Price $12.
  2. DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY. Jean-Dominique Bauby. Random House. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  3. ZAGAT BEST OF BROOKLYN. Zagat Survey. $12.95. Our Price $10.36.
  4. COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS. Marjane Satrapi. Random House. $24.95. Our Price $19.96.
  5. EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Elizabeth Gilbert. Penguin. $15. Our Price $12.
  6. ZAGAT NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS 2008. Zagat Survey. $15.95.              Our Price $12.76.
  7. CAFÉ LIFE NEW YORK. Sandy Miller. Interlink. $20. Our Price $16.
  8. OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. Michael Pollan. Penguin. $16. Our Price $12.80.
  9. WORKS. Kate Asher. Penguin. $20. Our Price $16.
  10. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING. Mark Bittman. Wiley. $21.95. Our Price $17.56.

    Children’s Hardcover & Paperback

  1. SNAIL & THE WHALE. Julia Donaldson. Penguin. $6.99. Our Price $5.59.
  2. THIS IS NEW YORK. M. Sasek. Universe. $17.95. Our Price $14.36.
  3. GOLDEN COMPASS (deluxe edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $11.95.                  Our Price $9.56.
  4. WHAT HAPPENS ON WEDNESDAYS. Emily Jenkins. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $16. Our Price $12.80.
  5. IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT. Andrea Beaty. Abrams. $15.95. Our Price $12.76.
  6. DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS. Andrea Buchanan. HarperCollins. $24.95.                      Our Price $19.96.
  7. AMOS & BORIS. William Steig. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $6.95. Our Price $5.56.
  8. SUBTLE KNIFE (trade edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $7.50.                       Our Price $6.
  9. AMBER SPYGLASS (trade edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $7.50.           Our Price $6.
  10. AMBER SPYGLASS (deluxe edition). Philip Pullman. Random House. $11.95                 Our Price $9.56.

these just in … 4 January, 2008

The Celtic Design Book: A Beginner’s Manual, Knotwork, Illuminated Letters
by Aidan Meehan

Paperback $22.50

This edition of Aidan Meehan’s practical guides to the art and design of the Celts brings together three of his bestselling titles in the Celtic Design series: A Beginner’s Manual, Knotwork, and Illuminated Letters. The step-by-step instructions provide an invaluable resource for artists, designers, and craftspeople.

A Beginner’s Manual covers all the simplest forms of Celtic design with a clear explanation of both freehand and canonical geometric methods, as well as detailed instructions on how to draw and decorate letters in an authentic Celtic style. It also shows the reader how to create personal illuminated manuscript pages with the help of an appendix of tools and techniques.
Knotwork: The Secret Method of the Scribes examines knotwork and plaitwork in detail against the sacred background from which they sprang. Illustrations of motifs taken from famous brooches and carvings show how Celtic knots can be adapted for all manner of craftwork.
Illuminated Letters is a unique blend of history, anecdote, and practical instruction that recreates the schooling of the Celtic illuminator.

Her Last Death: A Memoir
by Susanna Sonnenberg

Hardcover $24.00 - 10%

Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell Susanna her mother is in a coma after a car accident. She might not live. Any daughter would rush the thousands of miles to her mother’s bedside. But Susanna cannot bring herself to go. Her courageous memoir explains why.

Glamorous, charismatic and a compulsive liar, Susanna’s mother seduced everyone who entered her orbit. With outrageous behavior and judgment tinged by drug use, she taught her child the art of sex and the benefits of lying. Susanna struggled to break out of this compelling world, determined, as many daughters are, not to become her mother.

Sonnenberg mines tender and startling memories as she writes of her fierce resolve to forge her independence, to become a woman capable of trust and to be a good mother to her own children. Her Last Death is riveting, disarming and searingly beautiful.

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (Paperback)
by Roy Peter Clark

Paperback $12.99

Covering the writing waterfront-from basics on verb tense to the value of forming a “support group”-Poynter Institute vice president Clark offers tips, tricks and techniques for anyone putting fingers to keyboard. The best assets in Clark’s book are in the “workshop” sections that conclude each chapter and list strategies for incorporating the material covered in each lesson (minimize adverbs, use active verbs, read your work aloud). Though some suggestions are classroom campy (”Listen to song lyrics to hear how the language moves on the ladder of abstraction” and “With some friends, take a big piece of chart paper and with colored markers draw a diagram of your writing process”), Clark’s blend of instruction and exercise will prove especially useful for teachers. One exercise, for instance, suggests reading the newspaper and marking the location of subjects and verbs. Another provides a close reading of a passage from The Postman Always Rings Twice to look at the ways word placement and sentence structure can add punch to prose. Clark doesn’t intend his guide to be a replacement for classic style guides like Elements of Style, but as a companion volume, it does the trick.

A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder-How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place
by Eric Abrahamson & David H. Freedman

Paperback $14.99

“An engaging polemic against the neat-police who hold so much sway over our lives.” -The Wall Street JournalEnthusiastically embraced by readers everywhere, this groundbreaking book is an antidote to the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, neatness, and consistency are the keys to success.With an astounding array of anecdotes and case studies of the useful role mess can play in business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, hardware stores, and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, coauthors Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions, and are harder to break than neat ones.From clutter to time sprawl to blurring of categories, A PERFECT MESS will forever change the way we think about disorder.”A compelling and comical tour of humanity’s guilt-ridden love affair with accidents, messes, and randomness… Combine the world-is-not-as-it-seems mindset of Freakonomics with the delicious celebration of popular culture found in Everything Bad Is Good for You to get the cocktail-party-chatter-ready anecdotes of ‘messiness leading to genius’ in A PERFECT MESS.”

Seeing Me Naked
by Liza Palmer

Paperback $13.99

Palmer follows up her mirthful debut, Conversations with the Fat Girl, with a subtly sophisticated romance that outclasses most of the genre’s other offerings. Elisabeth Page is a 30-year-old pastry chef at L.A.’s restaurant du jour whose perpetually knotted stomach has roots in any number of sources: her father, Ben, a two-time Pulitzer-winning novelist and the kind of cultural icon that doesn’t exist anymore, with whom every conversation is a chess game; childhood sweetheart Will Houghton, whose globe-trotting as a journalist has stunted their ill-defined relationship; the head chef from hell at her all-consuming job; and her patrician family’s way of bonding through blood sport. But relief begins to filter in as Elisabeth’s dalliance with beer-drinking, salt-of-the-earth basketball coach Daniel Sullivan turns into a fulfilling relationship and her culinary career takes an unexpected turn. If it sounds chick litty, it is, but consider it haute chick lit; Palmer’s prose is sharp, her characters are solid and her narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment.

Beginner’s Greek: A Novel
by James Collins

Hardcover $23.99

The two young professionals of Collins’s polished debut, Holly and Peter, meet on a flight bound from New York to L.A. They tacitly understand they are soul mates, and she invites him to dinner, but Peter soon discovers that he has lost the number Holly wrote on a page torn from Mann’s The Magic Mountain. With Peter’s financial career and New York society as a mundane backdrop, years pass and Holly ends up married to Jonathan, a successful author and womanizer—and, conveniently, Peter’s best friend. Still aching for his one-time seatmate, Peter marries Charlotte, a dull Francophile, because it made sense. Charlotte, of course, is also in love with someone else—a former flame, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore. At Peter and Charlotte’s wedding, Jonathan is struck by lightning, precipitating an endless series of events that changes the lives of family, friends and lovers alike—including Peter’s boss and Charlotte’s ex-stepmother. Former Time editor Collins, 48, writes as if fully aware that anyone who saw any one of a thousand other romantic comedies will find the plot familiar: he plays romantic comedy clichés with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare.

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (Hardcover)
by Muhammad Yunus

Hardcover $26.00 - 10%

In Creating a World without Poverty, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus outlines his vision for a new business model that combines the power of free markets with the quest for a more humane world — and tells the inspiring stories of companies that are doing this work today.

A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants
by Jaed Coffin

Paperback $16.00

In this affecting memoir, Coffin relates tales from his childhood and the complications that arise from being the offspring of an interracial couple in the late 1970s. Coffin’s father was a U.S. soldier who met his mother in Taiwan during the Vietnam War. Not long after they venture to America to start a new life, Coffin’s parents separated and he and his younger sister, Tahnthawan, moved to Maine with their mother. Coffin was taken back to his mother’s Taiwanese village several times during his childhood, and, on one occasion, encountered an elderly Buddhist priest who claimed the boy should come and live as a monk. Years later as a university student, he returned to the village to become a monk in the hopes of finding himself and his true identity. He meditated and learned prayers and chants, but often found himself alone in his room, sleeping on the floor next to his Buddha statue until he begins to question whether he is meant for the life of a monk. In heartfelt prose, Coffin beautifully captures his journey, both geographical and internal.

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil 

Paperback $14.95

Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills– as doctors, nurses, and therapists– seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus the idea for the Kabul Beauty School was born.With the help of corporate and international sponsors, Rodriguez founded the Kabul Beauty School and welcomed the first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, she stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.

Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself tolove again, Afghan style.

With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Kabul Beauty School is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom.

Henry James: The Mature Master (Hardcover)
by Sheldon M. Novick

Hardcover $35.00

This second and final volume (after Henry James: The Young Master) of Novick’s epic James biography covers the period beginning immediately following the 1881 publication of The Portrait of a Lady and ends with James’s extended final illness and death in 1916. In between, James’s personal and literary life is exhaustively chronicled in a meticulous fashion. Novick’s goal is to show James as an active, passionate, engaged man of his time, rather than as the repressed, passive man of literary myth, and he achieves this goal resoundingly by allowing the reader access to James on almost a daily level, often through his frequent letters to friends and family. Novick’s first volume caused a small stir through its elucidation of James’s romantic feelings toward Oliver Wendell Holmes, and this conclusion offers a similar opinion of his romantic friendship with the poet Arthur Benson. Despite the occasional dramatic flareups, however, including the recounting of a literary rivalry with Oscar Wilde and James’s pledge of loyalty to the king of England during WWI, the book is most concerned with the day-to-day politics and publishing practices of James’s lifetime, and any reader interested in the master’s political development or prolific working methods would do well to turn to this definitive work.

Heyday: A Novel
by Kurt Andersen

Paperback $15.95

This historical novel may surprise readers who know Kurt Andersen as the cofounder of Spy magazine and the author of the wise and acerbic Turn of the Century (1999). It’s set in the mid–19th century, for one thing, and not—at least not ostensibly—about media or celebrity. Benjamin Knowles is a young Englishman infatuated with all things American, including and especially the part-time actress/part-time prostitute Polly Lucking, whom he meets on his first passage to New York. Just as Knowles and Polly are about to go public with their love, Knowles does that boy-thing—i.e., says something stupid—and she flees New York. It’s worth getting through the slowish beginning to arrive at the delightful, intelligent last two-thirds of this long novel when Knowles teams up with Polly’s damaged brother, Duff, and family friend, Timothy Scaggs, a journalist of sorts, in a trek west in search of the freethinking Ms. Lucking, with a murderer just behind them (it’s a subplot). Andersen’s second novel is more than just a love story or a history lesson (though there are details included that make it clear how much research Andersen did); it’s a true novel of ideas. The group visits a 19th-century health farm/cult, for example. The occasional historical figure—e.g., Charles Darwin—makes an appearance as well. There are shades of T.C. Boyle’s The Road to Wellville, as well as aspirations toward E.L. Doctorow. But in the end, this second novel belongs to Andersen, a tale of bright, rambunctious, aspiring young people. Like them, the book is rowdy, knowing—and wholly American.

Body Signs: From Warning Signs to False Alarms…How to Be Your Own Diagnostic Detective
by Joan Liebmann-Smith & Jacqueline Egan

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

We all notice things about our bodies that don’t seem quite right. But when are these simply harmless physical quirks and when are they signs that a visit to the doctor is in order? This comprehensive and fascinating guide covers every body part from head to toe—and everything in between—to help you decode the often mysterious messages your body sends you.

From brittle hair to hair in all the wrong places, a tingling tush, mismatched eyes, streaked nails, inverted nipples, and excessive flatulence, to name just a few, the body supplies endless signs regarding its state of health and wellness. Most of the time these require nothing more than a trip to the drugstore or cosmetic counter, or no treatment at all. At other times further attention is needed. So here’s the lowdown on what’s happening “down there,” the scoop on poop, straight talk about your joints, and a host of essential, even entertaining information on everything you ever wanted to know about your body—but might have been hesitant to ask even your doctor.

Drawn from cutting-edge research and the latest scientific literature, and vetted by a panel of medical experts, this remarkable book also includes historical trivia and fascinating factoids about each body area in question, plus an invaluable resource section. Whether you have a health concern or simply enjoy playing medical detective, Body Signs will not only absorb and inform you but will help you gain a more intimate understanding of the wondrous workings of your body.
Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
by Julia Fox

Hardcover $26.95

In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men and women around her became victims of Henry’s ruthless and absolute power, including her own husband and sister-in-law, Queen Anne Boleyn, Jane’s allegiance to the volatile monarchy was sustained and rewarded. But the price for her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name. For centuries, little beyond rumor and scandal has been associated with “the infamous Lady Rochford.” But now historian Julia Fox sets the record straight and restores dignity to this much-maligned figure whose life and reputation were taken from her.

Born to aristocratic parents in the English countryside, young Jane Parker found a suitable match in George Boleyn, brother to Anne, the woman who would eventually be the touchstone of England’s greatest political and religious crisis. Once settled in the bustling, spectacular court of Henry VIII as the wife of a nobleman, Jane was privy to the regal festivities of masques and jousts, royal births and funerals, and she played an intimate part in the drama and gossip that swirled around the king’s court.

But it was Anne Boleyn’s descent from palace to prison that first thrust Jane into the spotlight. Impatient with Anne’s inability to produce a male heir, King Henry accused the queen of treason and adultery with a multitude of men, including her own brother, George. Jane was among those interrogated in the scandal, and following two swift strokes from the executioner’s blade, she lost her husband and her sister-in-law, her inheritance and her place in court society.

Now the thirty-year-old widow of a traitor, Jane had to ensure her survival and protect her own interests by securing land and income. With sheer determination, she navigated her way back into royal favor by becoming lady-in-waiting to Henry’s three subsequent brides, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard. At last Jane’s future seemed secure–until an unwitting misstep involving the sexual intrigues of young Queen Catherine destroyed the life and reputation Jane worked so hard to rebuild.

Drawing upon her own deep knowledge and years of original research, Julia Fox brings us into the inner sanctum of court life, laced with intrigue and encumbered by disgrace. Through the eyes and ears of Jane Boleyn, we witness the myriad players of the stormy Tudor period. Jane emerges as a courageous spirit, a modern woman forced by circumstances to fend for herself in a privileged but vicious world.
Half the Blood of Brooklyn: A Novel
by Charlie Huston

Paperback $13.95

Huston’s third Joe Pitt vampire novel takes his Manhattan-based hard-boiled hero on a dangerous trip into the undead communities across the bridge in Brooklyn. The various vampire clans in New York are on the brink of conflict. Leadership has fallen apart, and to make things worse, a ‘Van Helsing’ is running amok and has recently murdered a longtime supplier of contraband blood. Worst of all, Pitt’s AIDS-stricken girlfriend, Evie, is in the hospital failing fast. Once again, he’s faced with an almost classical dilemma: infecting her with the vampire virus will destroy the illness that’s killing her, but she’ll be a vampire. Sent to Brooklyn to meet with a rogue clan of carnival freak vampires, Pitt ends up battling a group of radical Jewish bloodsuckers called the lost tribe of Gibeah. As always, Huston’s formidable writing chops are on full display: his action scenes are unparalleled in crime fiction and his dialogue is so hip and dead-on that Elmore Leonard should be getting nervous.

The Fall of Troy: A Novel
by Peter Ackroyd

Hardcover $23.00

Whitbread and Guardian Fiction Prize–winner Ackroyd has made a career out of charting London’s history, most recently in The Lambs of London and Shakespeare: The Biography. Here he turns to old Troy. In telegram- and steamboat-era Athens, the Greek Sophia Chrysanthis hastily weds German archeologist Johann Ludwig Heinrich Julius Obermann, mainly out of desire for an Indiana Jones–style adventure. Sophia quickly finds, however, that life with Johann approximates the Trojan excavation site (outside the Turkish village of Hissarlik) that Johann mines so lovingly: one jaw-dropping discovery follows another. But while Johann interprets the antiquities he finds using the Iliad, Sophia is left without a guide to her enigmatic husband’s true self. Unfortunately, although her predicament effectively mirrors the plight of Helen of Troy, and although the riddle of Johann’s identity is the very reflection of the Trojan horse’s portentousness, Sophia spends the greater part of the novel wincing and rationalizing. And a book’s worth of calculation is undone at the end when Ackroyd raises hallowed dust, but clouds the issues at hand.

Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration’s War on American Values
by Keith Olbermann

Hardcover $24.95

Short, sharp, and oftentimes shocking, Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comments” have made his nightly MSNBC program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, must-see viewing–and the fastest-growing news show on cable TV. In these segments, Olbermann calls out the perpetrators of mismanagement, brutality, cronyism, and the appalling lack of accountability at the highest levels of the Bush administration. In so doing, Olbermann goes where most of the mainstream media fear to tread–and his rapidly expanding audience eagerly follows.

In Truth and Consequences, Olbermann collects the best of his Special Comments, presented here with additional observations and other new material. Whether taking to task the likes of Vice President Dick Cheney and (the thankfully former) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who compare critics of the Iraq War to Nazi appeasers, or giving his impassioned perspective on why torture is un-American and what it really means to support our troops, or grilling timid lawmakers who fail to rein in presidential overreach and abuses of executive power, Olbermann’s devastatingly blunt (and at times wickedly funny) commentary cuts to the core of the duplicity and cynicism of a government that has lost the ability to distinguish between leading our great nation and ruling it.

Naturally, Keith Olbermann’s candor and razor-sharp polemic have earned him many detractors and enemies. His antagonists in the media, such as Bill O’Reilly, have mocked him and accused him of rank intolerance. Yes, Keith Olbermann is intolerant–of hypocrisy, demagoguery, fear-mongering, and especially the equation of dissent with treason. In Truth and Consequences, he fights to reclaim for himself and all Americans the dignity of speaking one’s mind and acting on one’s conscience.