GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

  • Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman

    Author, illustrator, and cultural commentator extraordinaire Kalman gives us a book about dogs that is, of course, about so much more. To her, dogs are constant reminders that life reveals the best of itself when we live fully in the moment and extend our unconditional love. And it is very true, that the most tender, uncomplicated, most generous part of our being blossoms, without any effort, when it comes to the love of a dog.

    Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC.

  • Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

    I loved Will Schwalbe's new book, Books for Living. Will is the person we all want for a friend. He’s funny and smart and sensitive and extremely well read. He shared so much of his life and his family with us in The End of Your Life Book Club that we came to look upon him as a friend. In this collection of observations and memories our friend proposes that one of the most interesting questions you can ask someone is “What are you reading?” He tells us what he has been reading and what it has taught him. This is not a book to read quickly. Rather each chapter, which focuses on a different book and lesson, is to be savored. This is a book I will eagerly come back to again and again and always be able to find something new... he has added several books to my stack of 'must reads!’

    Books for Living by Will Schwalbe ($25.95, Knopf), recommended by René at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman

    Whether this is the most philosophical pop culture book I’ve ever read or the most pop-culture drenched philosophy book I’ve ever read, I don’t know.

    But I do know I can’t stop thinking--and as my family and co-workers can attest, talking--about the ideas Klosterman ponders here. Whether reflecting on Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions or the internet’s reaction to the death of Dusty Rhodes, Klosterman has a breadth and depth of knowledge to cover a lot of cultural ground here.

    A most rewarding read!

    But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman (Blue Rider Press) Recommended by Frank at A Cappella Books Atlanta GA

  • By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times Book Review by Pamela Paul, Scott Turow

    Like many of you, By the Book is one of my favorite parts of the NYT Book Review.

    Compiled here by Pamela Paul, editor of the Book Review, are 65 author interviews (uncut and in their original format) all about writing habits, favorite authors and books and - one of my favorites - books they'd wish the president would read.

    The authors range from Michael Chabon and Khaled Hosseini to Anne Lamott and Hilary Mantel, making this a delectable treat for any book lover.

    By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times Book Review by Pamela Paul, Scott Turow (Henry Holt and Co.) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall

    I like a certain amount of surprise in my life, but when it comes to getting older I've found I'd like to have fair warning about what to expect.

    Donald Hall, a former Poet Laureate and National Medal of the Art winner, has written a beautiful collection of essays from the vantage point of 86 years old.

    They are funnier than I imagined they would be, as well as inspiring and heartening, and the prose is pitch perfect.

    Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL 
    9780544287044

  • Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill by Gretchen Rubin

    I love this collection – quick read that you can pick up and start from any chapter. The author deftly shows you one side of this historic man and then in a flash, shows the conflicting side. There is so much information about Winston Churchill in the literary world, this book breaks it down simply into the man that was an artist, a father, a husband and a world leader. You gain a little glimpse into the contradictions that ruled his world.

    Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life By Gretchen Rubin ($17, Random House Trade), recommended by Linda, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon

    In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition.

    Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

    Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon (Blue Sky Press) Recommended by Fiona at Charis Books Decatur GA

  • I’ll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell

    Chloe Caldwell is the kind of friend who calls you once in a while with some crazy story that never disappoints and is always worth the wait. Taking an almost memoir-istic structure, her essays show her personal growth through coping with addiction, internet/celebrity infatuation, acne, being broke, and feeling lost. Striking, funny, sometimes absurd, and always tender, Caldwell writes herself into she has always loved and needed—a friend.

    I’ll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell (16.95, Coffee House), recommended by Amanda, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Listen to This by Alex Ross

    From the acclaimed New Yorker music critic comes a collection of essays covering both early classical and popular music and a worthy follow-up to his successful THE REST IS NOISE.

    As a youth, Mr. Ross was a dedicated classical music lover but at the late age of 20, after purchasing his first pop album, became intrigued by the sound, noise and power of popular music and found his perspective of classical music changed forever.

    The essays are powerful and passionate and a wonderful read for those willing to expand their listening boundaries.

    Listen to This By Alex Ross ($20, Picador USA) Recommended by Tim at Quail Ridge BooksRaleigh NC

     

  • Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

    In Medium Raw, Anthony Bourdain is much less cranky than he was in Kitchen Confidential, but is somehow angrier. Targets include Ruth Reichl, most professional restaurant critics, and the Food Network. Foodie or not, Medium Raw will entertain and enlighten.

    Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain ($15.99, Echo Books), recpmmended by Colin, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • New American Stories by BenMarcus (ed.)

    Quite simply, this collection reminds you just how jaw-droppingly awesome the short story form can be.

    From realism to hyper-realism to post-modernism to post-post-modernism to so-far-after-modernism-that-we-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it-anymore-modernism.

    Everything in this anthology is pulsing and alive, and there’s not a story in here that won’t stick with you in the days to follow despite your best attempts to shake it off. Marcus does a phenomenal job finding the very best and stylistically diverse writers working today, and if you’re at all interested in where fiction’s going and just what amazing, weird, crazy awesome things it’s doing right now, then you have to read this book.

    New American Stories by Ben Marcus (Vintage) Recommended by Donovan at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

    Upon finding success as a writer, director, and actress, Dunham releases her autobiography as an exciting look into the events that shaped her.

    She offers an unedited look at her life through a series of personal essays, some humorous and others quite painful, in hopes that her stories will keep readers from repeating her mistakes. With brutal honesty, she gives detailed accounts of her hardships in love and work, without shame or apology.

    Her ability to share without excuse shows the strength that makes her such a relatable artist and celebrity.

    Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned by Lena Dunham (Random House) Recommended by Emily Catherine at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

     

  • Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin

    How DO you make money as a writer without losing your mind or your soul? The short answer is, “It depends.” The long answer is the entirety of this book: honest, engaging essays by writers including Cheryl Strayed, Roxane Gay, Nick Hornby, Susan Orlean, Alexander Chee, and Jennifer Weiner.

    Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin ($16, Simon & Schuster), recommended by Mary Laura, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 by Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket

    With over thirty different pieces this collection has it all... 

    Short stories, non-fiction pieces, poems, excerpts from comics/graphic novels, articles from literary magazines, excerpts from chapbooks and even a transcript from a Night Vale Podcast.

    What also makes this collection so much fun to read is that it was curated by fourteen highschool students.
    Then last, but most certainly not least, there is the added bonus that the editor is Daniel Handler, who also wrote an introduction from Lemony Snicket.

    The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 by Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket (Mariner) Recommended by Erin at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis

    This collection of four books contains nearly 200 short stories. Some might be a casual three or four pages long, some might be one or two sentences, but they're all amazing. Lydia Davis writes like no one else: her stories are weird, funny, deep, and beautiful, starting and ending in the span of a couple minutes.

    The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis ($23, Picador USA), recommended by Jacob, Malaprops Books, Asheville, NC.

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

    A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document.

    The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin ($13.95, Vintage), recommended by Elizabeth, Charis Books, Atlanta, GA.

  • Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear...and Why by Sady Doyle

    At its best, pop culture criticism forces us to reconsider a familiar product by placing it in a new context and, in doing so, imbuing it with new meaning. Trainwreck is just that. Doyle effectively and entertainingly litigates her case: that Western culture's fascination with 'fallen' female starlets—AKA trainwrecks--is simply a modern form of the patriarchal silencing and marginalization of women that has been going for centuries. With sly humor and lively prose, Doyle systematically punches through all the familiar straw-man arguments and convincingly illustrates that the 'harmless fun' of Internet clickbait and TMZ gossip are merely modern forms of public shaming. A must-read.

    Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why by Sady Doyle (Melville House, $25.99), recommended by Matt at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN.

  • Upstairs at the Strand: Writers in Conversation at the Legendary Bookstore by Jessica Strand

    “The Strand is a monument to the immortality of the written word and hence beloved writers.” -Fran Lebowitz

    The Strand is my Mecca, and I can think of no better setting for this series of interview-conversations with some of our most treasured authors. Discussions range from craft and process to which authors they’re reading now and whatever else might come up. There’s something here for every bibliophile. (Plus, how great is it that they made this a book instead of YouTube videos or something?)

    Upstairs at the Strand: Writers in Conversation at the Legenday Bookstore by Jessica Strand (W.W. Norton & Company, $15.95), recommended by Shannon at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick

    Resnick, a former writer for Late Night with David Letterman is anti-social and proud of it.

    These stories explain in hilarious detail the who, what, when and how he came to be the funny man that hates parties and small talk. I read this one out loud to anyone that would listen and laughed myself silly. A memoir without pretense or self-congratulation. Just honest straight-up true stories of the dysfunction that shapes us all. You want a funny book? Read this.

    Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolationby Adam Resnick (Plume Books) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL