June 5, 2023


Terrorist is John Updike’s 22nd novel. We bumped into him at Book Expo a couple of weeks ago and said: “Hello, John, we started reading your new book Terriorist.” He said: “Good, be sure and finish it though!” We’re following his advice.

NY Times interview with Updike:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/31/books/31updi.html

A New York Magazine review of Terrorist:http://newyorkmetro.com/arts/books/reviews/17120/

A John Updike website with all sorts of stuff on it:http://userpages.prexar.com/joyerkes/index.html

It is on sale tues, 6/6/06. Stop by the store and have a look. Here is the book cover and a short summary.

Devils , Ahmad thinks. These devils seek to take away my God. All day long, at Central High School, girls sway and sneer and expose their soft bodies and alluring hair. Their bare bellies, adorned with shining navel studs and low-down purple tattoos, ask, What else is there to see ? Boys strut and saunter along and look dead-eyed, indicating with their edgy killer gestures and careless scornful laughs that this world is all there is — a noisy varnished hall lined with metal lockers and having at its end a blank wall desecrated by graffiti and roller-painted over so often it feels to be coming closer by millimeters.
The teachers, weak Christians and nonobservant Jews, make a show of teaching virtue and righteous self-restraint, but their shifty eyes and hollow voices betray their lack of belief. . . . Some have the pink lids and bad breaths and puffy bodies of those who habitually drink too much. . . . Their lives away from the school are disorderly and wanton and self-ingulgent.

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Now in stock!

Happy 100th, Sam.



-10% Disc.
Edited by Paul Auster, this four–volume set of Beckett’s canon has been designed by award winner Laura Lindgren.
The four hardcover volumes have been specially bound with covers featuring images central to Beckett’s works. Typographical errors that remained uncorrected in the various prior editions have now been corrected in consultation with Beckett scholars C. J. Ackerley and S. E. Gontarski.

“Poet, novelist, short–story writer, playwright, translator, and critic, Samuel Beckett created one of the most brilliant and enduring bodies of work in twentieth–century literature. In celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, the four volumes of this new edition bring together nearly every word Beckett published during his lifetime. Open anywhere and begin reading. It is an experience unequaled anywhere in the universe of words.”

— Paul Auster, from his Series Notes
Check out: http://samuel-beckett.net/
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May 25, 2023

Nice new Random House releases!


Toutonghi’s tragicomic debut novel paints a loving, cockeyed picture of the Soviet immigrant experience in the twilight of the Cold War. Yuri Balodis, a painfully thin, bookish 15-year-old living in Milwaukee with his parents, narrates with adolescent angst tempered by retrospective wisdom. Proud to have escaped Soviet Latvia under trying circumstances, Yuri’s mother and father (who works as a janitor) have embraced America, choosing to speak only their own idiosyncratic brand of English and decorating their small apartment with glossy magazine ads. In 1989, Yuri watches the fall of the Berlin Wall on television, plays host to Latvian relatives who may or may not be seeking asylum, and dabbles in socialism, an interest derived mostly from his passion for wild-haired Hannah Graham, a Socialist Worker vendor. Yuri’s patriotic parents, particularly his hard-drinking father, Rudolfi, are outraged by Yuri’s espousal of Marxist rhetoric, a blatant form of teenage rebellion. Oblivious to everything except his own obsession with Hannah, Yuri fails to recognize his father’s love, and the implications of his own recklessness, until it’s almost too late. Toutonghi’s carefully observed character details, evocation of working-class Milwaukee and tales of the old country effectively walk the line between realism and absurdity.

Visit Pauls’ website http://paulstoutonghi.com/

***Paul will should be in soon to sign some stock, so stop by and pick up an autographed copy.





Bill Buford—author of the highly acclaimed best-selling Among the Thugs—had long thought of himself as a reasonably comfortable cook when in 2002 he finally decided to answer a question that had nagged him every time he prepared a meal: What kind of cook could he be if he worked in a professional kitchen? When the opportunity arose to train in the kitchen of Mario Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo, Buford grabbed it. Heat is the chronicle—sharp, funny, wonderfully exuberant—of his time spent as Batali’s “slave” and of his far-flung apprenticeships with culinary masters in Italy.
In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes the frenetic experience of working in Babbo’s kitchen: the trials and errors (and more errors), humiliations and hopes, disappointments and triumphs as he worked his way up the ladder from slave to cook. He talks about his relationships with his kitchen colleagues and with the larger-than-life, hard-living Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters.
Buford takes us to the restaurant in a remote Appennine village where Batali first apprenticed in Italy and where Buford learns the intricacies of handmade pasta . . . the hill town in Chianti where he is tutored in the art of butchery by Italy’s most famous butcher, a man who insists that his meat is an expression of the Italian soul . . . to London, where he is instructed in the preparation of game by Marco Pierre White, one of England’s most celebrated (or perhaps notorious) chefs. And throughout, we follow the thread of Buford’s fascinating reflections on food as a bearer of culture, on the history and development of a few special dishes (Is the shape of tortellini really based on a woman’s navel? And just what is a short rib?), and on the what and why of the foods we eat today.
Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a richly evocative memoir of Buford’s kitchen adventure, the story of Batali’s amazing rise to culinary (and extra-culinary) fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters.
It is a book to delight in—and to savor.

AMONG THE THUGS is also available at BookCourt

Bill Buford is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he was the fiction editor for eight years. He was the founding editor of Granta magazine and was also the publisher of Granta Books. His previous book, Among the Thugs, is a nonfiction account of crowd violence and British soccer hooliganism. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jessica Green, and their two sons.




Gloom suffuses the works of celebrated French novelist Houellebecq. His latest offering features 40-year-old Daniel, a caustic comedian and filmmaker whose celebrity status earns him access to Elohim, a cult of sexually promiscuous health fanatics who achieve immortality through cloning. The narrative alternates between the original Daniel (plagued by a succession of failed love affairs, with affection remaining only for his Welsh corgi) and his subsequent “neohuman” incarnations, virtually devoid of humanity and emotion. Moments of contentment are rare for Houellebecq, who seems to revel in a sort of vulgar navel gazing, replete with horrifying images (one particularly distressing scenario depicts explosions of infant skulls). Joyless Daniel even despises laughter, “that sudden and violent distortion of the features that deforms the human face and strips it instantly of all dignity.” Frequently labeled by critics as a malcontent and misogynist, Houellebecq seems to revere canines, with their capacity for devotion and unconditional love. It’s a strange bit of sentimentality from a man who seems, by all accounts, heartless.

And come check out Houellebecq’s other books, all in stock:









Read a San Francisco Chronicle interview with Houellebecq. Click here: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/01/DDGEGD001V1.DTL&type=books

Read a review by John Updike of THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND. Click here: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/articles/060522crbo_books


Thanks for reading …

Feel free to leave some comments.




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May 24, 2023

Political Thrillers

Heard on Fresh Air yesterday a new book Flight Club Politics:


The House of Representatives - the people’s House - is supposed to most closely reflect the needs and desires of ordinary citizens. But over the past decade, House leaders fearful of losing power have torn the House from its roots. The creation of politically safe, more ideologically-tilted congressional districts through redistricting has cemented this shift and seated more politicians from both the extreme left and right. Fight Club Politics will show how we have come to the point where average Americans have little say over what happens in the House, and what can be done about it.


Listen to the entire interview here

You can reserve a copy by emailing us at [email protected]

Click “Comment” below and share your own comments

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 Essays & Lit. Crit. by

Elif Vatuman - Stephen Burt - Caleb Crain - Rodrigo Fresan - Keith Gessen - Vivian Gornick - Gerald Howard - Benjamin Kunkel - Marco Roth

Fiction by






*Marco Roth on Ishiguro & Houellebecq

*J.D. Daniels on William T. Vollman


You can check out N+1 on the web at www.nplusonemag.com




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April 20, 2023

Pulitzers are announced

Pulitzer Prize Winners
(announced 4/17/06)


Geraldine Brooks

General Nonfiction
Caroline Elkins

Imperial Reckoning:

The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya
David M.Oshinsky
Polio: An American Story
Claudia Emerson
Late Wife
Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

American Prometheus:

 The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Long-time Carroll Gardens resident Susannah Ludwig produced 

STOLEN, a documentary that brings to light the fascinating story behind the largest museum heist in American history. STOLEN won the audience award at the 2005 Sarasota Film Festival & the best documentary award at the New York Avignon Film Festival. Ms. Ludwig has worked on several other critically acclaimed films, as well as six behind-the-scenes documentaries for American Movie Classics and the Independent Film Channel. She is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Long Island University where she teaches documentary film production. 


In 1990, in the early morning hours after St. Patrick’s day, thieves disguised as policemen gained access into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully executed the largest art heist in modern history. Among the thirteen priceless works stolen was Vermeer’s “The Concert” one of only 35 of the masters surviving works. To date, not a single work has been recovered.

STOLEN is a full exploration of this unusual crime and the fascinating, disparate characters involved: from the 19th century Grand Dame Isabella Gardner to the 17th century Dutch masters to a 21st century terrorist organization with a penchant for stealing Vermeers.

At the heart of the film, is the unlikely hero Harold Smith, the renowned art detective. STOLEN follows Mr. Smith as he pursues the mystery of the stolen works. Despite his lifetime battle with skin cancer, the cunning and witty Smith has made this case his personal obsession, working with what hope remains. With Mr. Smith as a guide STOLEN journeys into the mysterious and surreal world of stolen art and examines the many possibilities as to where the art might be.

Interwoven with Smith’s investigation are noted contemporary authors discussing the power of Vermeer’s work, as well as collector Isabella Stewart Gardner’s turn-of-the-century correspondence (read by Blythe Danner) with her advisor Bernard Berenson (read by Campbell Scott.) These subplots give the film a larger context and help illuminate just what the world has lost.

Directed by Rebecca Dreyfus, produced by Susannah Ludwig. 

For more information: www.stolenthefilm.com 

To read more about Vermeer & the art world


Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier 

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland 

The Music Lesson by Katherine Weber 

Chasing Vermeer & The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett (for middle readers) 


Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick 

Irish Game by Matthew Hart 

Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason 

Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Cynthia Saltzman 

Vermeer in Bosnia by Lawrence Weschler  



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April 13, 2023

The Skin Between Us

We were excited and proud this morning as we unpacked cartons of  former BookCourt staff member Kym Ragusa’s lyrical and compelling book, The Skin Between Us: A Memoir of Race, Beauty, and Belonging. Kym has written a moving remembrance of growing up in two battling Harlem communities of the ’70s: the West Harlem of her African American mother and the East Harlem of her Sicilian American father. Finding richness in her mixed heritage and a place for herself in the process, Kym’s childhood centered around her two grandmothers. As they provided the loving core of her upbringing, Kym gave these two strong women a common bond  which enabled them to overcome their prejudices.
If you enjoyed The Color of Water by James McBride, Paula Fox’s memoir of her outsider childhood, Borrowed Finery, or Martha Southgate’s novel about three generations of African American women finding their connections to each other, Third Girl From the Left, you must read The Skin Between Us.
We are thrilled that Kym will be reading at BookCourt from The Skin Between Us on Friday, May 5th at 8pm.
 Please join us then!
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April 6, 2023

Death in Belmont

Sebastian Junger’s new book , A Death in Belmont , made me wonder why he didn’t write it before A Perfect Storm. It also brought back to me the haunting time in Boston of the early sixties.

I grew up in the Boston area in the sixties and I remember the fear magnified by the news at the time. A Death in Belmont is about the Junger family and their connection with Albert DeSalvo.

It’s a fascinating exploration into the mind of the serial killer and the nature of upbring on one’s life. Junger’s writing is as seamless as it was in A Perfect Storm and I expect this book to be read by many. It’s due to be published later this month. - Henry

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March 25, 2023

50th Birthday of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

The 1955 poem begins: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”

The New York Times published an article published in the September 6, 2023 New York Times Book Review entitled “West Coast Rhythms:” The article called national attenson to the Beat generation, Allen Ginsberg, and the poem Howl.

An obscenity trial was brought against Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore, the poem’s new domestic publisher. Nine literary experts testified on the poem’s behalf. Supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ferlinghetti won the case when Judge Clayton Horn decided that the poem was of ‘redeeming social importance Details

City Lights Book Store has a set of birthday events around the world.

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Garry Wills provides a detailed review of Taylor Branch’s At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–68. What a saga! Filled with people you liked and despised. If you remember the March on Selma, or even if you didn’t, what great history..

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“There are no books too deep for teenagers” said Harry Eyres in a recent Financial Times Weeked Books Section.

He recounts his books like War and Peace and Doctor Zhivago. “There are no books teenagers should read but there are no books too deep or difficult for teenagers. What you read at 16 may shape your imagination for the rest of your life: only the best will [email protected] columns at www.ft.com/eyres.” Read the article-> Read more

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Interested in Starting or Joining A BookCourt Bookclub?

Check out Waterbor Publick Library’s Resources For Reading Groups

And Book-Clubs-Resource.com is a complete guide to book clubs and reading groups with an outstanding collection of links and information for readers, including information about saving with discount book clubs.

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