David

Last House (Staff Pick)

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Last House: A Novel By Jessica Shattuck Cover Image
$22.40
ISBN: 9780062979896
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: William Morrow - May 14th, 2024

A story of three generations of a family and their involvement in politics, activism, and counterculture. From the CIA's complicity in the Shah's overthrow of Iran's democratic government in the '50s, through the protest movements of the 60s, the family's intricate psychological drama plays out against a vivid historical backdrop.

- David


The Writers: Portraits by Laura Wilson (Staff Pick)

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The Writers: Portraits By Laura Wilson, Charles McGrath (Foreword by), Louise Erdrich (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Laura Wilson, Charles McGrath (Foreword by), Louise Erdrich (Introduction by)
$45.00
ISBN: 9780300257786
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Yale University Press - October 18th, 2022

You will need to buy two of these: one for a gift, and one for yourself.  These stunning black-and-white photographs of almost every contemporary writer you could think of, photographed not only in portraiture but in their libraries and homes, with their families and friends and dogs, and in the magnificent outdoors.  We know these authors through their books, but these images seem to bring us into their inner lives and selves in a way that the written word alone could never capture.

- David


Get Back

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The Beatles: Get Back By The Beatles Cover Image
$60.00
It's Complicated--Contact Us for More Information
ISBN: 9780935112962
Published: Callaway - January 12th, 2021

I try to choose staff picks of general interest, and I will freely admit that this book probably isn't - it is for readers who love the Beatles. You don't have to be a fanatic (I'm not), but if you love Let It Be (I do) then this book is not only appealing but probably mandatory. At a literal level, it is a textual and photographic transcript of the studio sessions preparing for their last concert, with the songs that became that album (and much of Abbey Road); but writ large it is really a narrative of the last phase of the band. They are talking, joking, playing, creating, arguing, reminiscing - far more than the story of a break-up, it is an exploration of a phenomenon. And the photos are magnificent.

David


The Boys

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The Boys By Katie Hafner Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781954118058
Availability: Available to Order from Supplier: Arrives at Store in a Week(ish)
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 26th, 2022

NYT called this book "a wonder of storytelling" and I couldn't come up with a better description. The narrative is touching, hilarious, and poignant, yet manages to raise deep and provocative questions about loneliness, parenting, and companionship. The story takes a turn in the middle that is so astounding, and so deftly handled, that you may feel compelled to go right back to the beginning - and the rest of the book floats on the brilliance of that device.

David


Late City

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Late City By Robert Olen Butler Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802158826
Availability: Available to Order from Supplier: Arrives at Store in a Week(ish)
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - September 7th, 2021

On his deathbed on the night of the 2016 election, the 115-year-old last surviving soldier of WWI reflects back on the first 50 years of his life, from his early childhood in Louisiana, his role as a sniper in the war, and his post-war career as a journalist in Chicago.  His meditation takes the form of a conversation with God, who admittedly is depicted somewhat heavy-handedly, but the real beauty of the book is Olen's description of the effect of the war on a young man, and the perspective of a journalist on local and international events and the impact of his career on his family.

David


Let's Eat Italy!

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Let's Eat Italy!: Everything You Want to Know About Your Favorite Cuisine (Let's Eat Series #2) By François-Régis Gaudry Cover Image
$60.00
ISBN: 9781648290596
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Artisan - November 9th, 2021

I love Italy, the place, and Italian, the cuisine - this book is a gorgeous amalgamation of both.  The essence of the book is recipes, but it is chock-full of food culture (pieces about great chefs, restaurateurs, Italian food movies), gastronomy (everything you want to know about Italian breads, olives, pastas, etc.), geography (the ingredients, specialities and wines of the different regions); in short, everything you want to know about Italian food with magnificent photographs and gorgeous graphics to increase the salivation factor.  An Encyclopedia Italica of food.

David


Taste

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Taste: My Life Through Food By Stanley Tucci Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781982168018
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Gallery Books - October 5th, 2021

Even if you do not agree with me that Tucci's The Big Night is probably the best food movie ever, you will still find this gustatory memoir a delightful, escapist read. Deliciously evocative, laugh-out-loud funny, and even including recipes for some of his favorites, I read this straight through in two sittings - slowing myself down by rereading particularly delectable passages, but eagerly anticipating what still lay in wait for me. Read this, and then watch (or re-watch) that movie.

David


Morningside Heights

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Morningside Heights: A Novel By Joshua Henkin Cover Image
$26.95
It's Complicated--Contact Us for More Information
ISBN: 9781524748357
Published: Pantheon - June 15th, 2021

What starts out looking like a predictable female-English-student-has-affair-with-handsome-young-professor story quickly demonstrates that it is going to cover a lot more ground. They meet and marry in the 70s - but fast-forward 30 years, when the prodigy Spence, now in his late 50s, is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's  The novel deeply explores the relationships among husband, wife, children, and the outside (and increasingly foreign) world, and poignantly chronicles his descent into middle-aged madness without being maudlin or sentimental. It’s beautifully and sensitively written, funny, and driven by a don't-put-it-down plot.

David


Under the Wave at Waimea

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Under The Wave At Waimea By Paul Theroux Cover Image
$28.00
It's Complicated--Contact Us for More Information
ISBN: 9780358446286
Published: Mariner Books - April 13th, 2021

 

I thought as I began this novel that it was a reminiscence by a middle-aged Hawaiian surfer dude about his youth of waves, drugs, and girls.  And superficially it is, but it is also a moving meditation on mortality, complacence, and self-knowledge.  Theroux is as always a masterful storyteller, and the descriptive passages about the ocean and the sublimity of surfing are alone worth the price of admission.

 

David


David

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