Wednesday, November 17, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Burke's Books will be closed permanently. We thank all those who have supported us through the years and chose to make us their local, independent bookstore.
The Staff of Burke's Books
Monday, November 8, 2010
published by Drawn and Quarterly
This new story line follows Lint from birth to death, with each page representing a specific time in his life. The narrative and art work also represent each developmental, with the first few pages visually representing the world as a baby would see it and then as a toddler, a small child, a pre-teen, a teenager, etc. As the story progresses, the artwork and narrative become more and more complex, a la Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by Joyce.
Ware pushed himself to experiment a little with this work and it worked out beautifully.
published by Harper
"She snuck over to Sarah's to borrow the gun and there he was, sneaking home, out of Sarah's trailer with the door creaking so loud in the quiet she took it for herself, screeching, Bill, and he saw, and she saw, and Sarah in the doorway with her panties saw, so everyone knew that everyone else knew what was what with who." pg.15
"Freed of negative energies, he moved easily toward solutions." pg.89
"He couldn't believe he'd actually been asleep. All night he had lain with the Unmade, with God, the incredible darkness, the huge blue mouth of love. I'm going to be turned into space. This is the hour of my death." pg.204
Friday, October 29, 2010
published by Black Cat
Vida is a hard nut to crack. Engel is clearly influenced by Junot Diaz, whom she gives a shout out to in her acknowledgments and Diaz also blurbs the front cover. That's pretty much why I read it, because this is the debut Diaz had been waiting for, apparently. But this influence comes off as more imitation than her own solid voice but then again, it is a debut and Engel is still finding that voice.
Moderately recommended though nothing new in terms of moving Latin American immigrant fiction forward, not to pigeon hole her stuff but I mean, that's what it is...at least right now.
reviewed by Schuyler
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
I almost feel bad for Jonathan Franzen. It's not his fault Freedom was hailed as an American masterpiece before anyone even had a chance to read it. He writes a book, then he goes over it with his editor, and then the publishing, marketing machine takes care of the rest, launching his status into the ever hyperbolic atmosphere. Again, not his fault. Is he enjoying the praise and attention? Probably. But also, probably not. How can he possibly live up to this standard that critics, fans, and Oprah have set for him?
Well, the short answer is he can't. I tried my best to steer clear of most reviews, positive and negative, before reading Freedom. I had read The Corrections about five years ago and had enjoyed it. Having just finished my undergrad, it was one of the first novels I had read that wasn't assigned to me by a professor. I read it over the course of several nights. Pretty much devoured it. Best book ever? No, not really. But I enjoyed it, and it re-awakened a love for books I hadn't felt since elementary school.
Now, five years, I've probably read 250 books (give or take) since The Corrections. I feel a bit more confident in my criticism and reader abilities. I know what I like (for the most part), I know what I don't like (for the most part), and I can defend my opinions (for the most part).
Again, I was oddly transfixed by Freedom. I read it in about five days. This is not to say I really liked it. The speed in which I read a book doesn't always correlate to my pleasure. I guess it says that Franzen's prose is very readable. Some people say lyrical...or that he's a great stylist, but that stuff doesn't mean anything really. Those are just nonsense words to me. But I'm confused by Freedom. It's not as good as everyone seems to think it is, but it's also not as bad either. I guess the conclusion I came to, after having read The Corrections and Freedom, is that Franzen is a slightly-better-than mediocre writer. And trust me, I'm not trying to be mean. I've given this a lot of thought, probably more than it warrants, and he's a good writer, but his work doesn't do anything for me in my gut.
Franzen doesn't deserve the disgusting amount of praise but he also doesn't deserve the malicious attacks (I'm looking at your B.R. Meyers of The Atlantic). The attacks are just so clearly a reaction to the over-the-top reviews. As a reader, we can't take them seriously because they mostly reek of jealousy. Because what if Franzen's work didn't garnish so much attention? What if he worked in moderate obscurity? Would those reviews be so venomous?
In summation, I have this to say about Freedom: Meh. But as LeVar Burton was fond of saying, You don't have to take my word for it.
reviewed by Schuyler
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
published by Doubleday
Author Susan Casey's non-fiction book, The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean is a page-turner without doubt! An exciting blend of surf, science, and salvaging, the main characters are tow-surfers (uber-surfers....guys with a death wish), principally Laird Hamilton, who live to ride the monster waves (50 ft-plus). But aside from the surf scene, Ms. Casey talks to scientists from around the world, a representative of Lloyds of London, and the owner of a ship salvage operation in South Africa to give the reader an astonishing profile of these waves, which about 20 years ago were thought to be "mariner myths." Highly recommended.
reviewed by Susan
Friday, September 24, 2010
published by Knopf
Well, let me just say that I'm glad I stuck with it. It took me a little while to get into but after I shed all my preconceived notions, it turned out to a damn fine book. It's doesn't have a traditional narrative arch (thank God) with each chapter devoted to one character, with each story directly, or sometimes indirectly, related to previous chapters and their characters. So it's a little more short-story-ish in format than it is novel. Like a really tight, super connected short story collection. Egan also blends enough satire and literary trickery to keep things fresh and engaging, including an entire section told through a teenagers Power Point journal, which was, oddly enough, way more genuine than I thought possible.
So it kinda ends up being about music, but not in that slightly annoying way (think Perks of Being a Wallflower, think Love is a Mixtape). And time ends up being the goon. And the only reason I didn't like the cover is because I thought it was going to be an annoying diatribe about the death of music and the only real music is punk rock, etc.
The cover was misleading. But I'm not gonna stop judging books by them. What would happen if we went back to the age when books didn't have dust jackets? Like it was just the title and author on the spine and that's it? How would those sell in the now heavily image-based consumer culture, where the image is king? Cause now probably like half the reason a customer will decide on one book over the other is because it has a better cover, right? I know I've done it. This all being said, book covers has evolved into this strange art form. I don't know about you, but I think book covers are freakin' beautiful nowadays. But I digress.
So read this book please. I liked it a lot.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Wave by Susan Casey- Everything you've ever wanted to know about the giant, rogue waves of the ocean...and the people who dare to ride them.
Ape House by Sara Gruen- From the author of Water for Elephants comes this intriguing tale of apes, language, and what exactly it means to be human.
The Thousand by Kevin Guifoile- A conspiracy laced historical thriller that puts The Da Vinci Code to shame. To shame I say!
Here are a few of the future dates:
Thursday, October 7th, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Thursday, October 21st, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Thursday, November 4th, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Thursday, November 18th, 7:00pm-8:30pm
All are welcome. Bring your fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or whatever you'd like to share. The atmosphere is positive and encouraging, so don't be scared! Embrace your inner writer.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
published by New York Book Review Classics
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Room by Emma Donoghue
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
C by Tom McCarthy
My money is on McCarthy, but I've been wrong before. Oh Lordy, have I been wrong before. Also, last year's Man Booker winner, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, is out in paperback! So, good news, all around.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Taylor (a neuroscientist) narrates her eight year journey from stroke to recovery, revealing the intricacies of the brain and how she came to understand the true potential behind the modern brain, which ultimately leads to a path of inner peace. Steeped in fascinating information and woven with inspiration and possibility, My Stroke of Insight is not to be missed.
Call and have us hold you a copy today! 847.692.2300
published by Harper Perennial (Modern Classics)
Like most, I first read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school (or was it junior high?). Again, like most, I thought it was kinda boring. Just more "important literature" I was supposed to be reading and studying and answering multiple choice questions in regards in its subject matter. Answer the following: Racism is A) Good B) Bad C) Inevitable D) Racism? What Racism?!
Revisiting the text as an adult (well, a certain stage in my adulthood), I was obviously more aware of the subtleties of the story I most assuredly missed when I was younger, and also, kinda annoyed with some of the not-so-subtle, bashing-me-over-the-head-type morality lessons.
One of the things that interested me the most the second time around, and which I don't remember much discussing in (junior?) high school, is the role of Scout as unreliable/wildly inconsistent narrator. So we have Scout, the narrator, who is clearly looking back on the events of her childhood as an adult, narrating the story as a grown women. But. The narration itself is more or less told from the perspective of Scout the Child, not Scout the Adult Looking Back on Being a Child. Or I should say, sometimes it is told from the perspective (naivete, innocence, and general lovable childlike-ness) of Scout as Child, and other times it's told as Scout as Adult Looking Back on Being a Child (understanding, wisdom, etc). And sometimes the two even mesh, with Scout as Child using astoundingly advanced diction (she's like 7, 8, 9 years old in the course of the book). Now, I recognize that Scout is very smart, mostly because Atticus is very smart and took time to read to them, teach them, etc. But still. Her vocabulary at times is just not very believable.
Anyway, it's not really a flaw, because I imagine Miss Lee and her editor certainly saw this "narrative problem", but it makes for interesting discussion, in terms of how much can we trust Scout as Narrator? Because if this is an adult narrating the story, it makes it a very different novel than if it were a child (as it is generally accepted it is, narrated by a child that is). Adults manipulate narrative, especially ones they're personally involved in, skewing certain events, maybe bringing things together in black and white terms where maybe they don't exist. Making themselves (and the ones they love) come off in a better light than maybe they were originally cast.
It was interesting reading a little bit of the criticism surrounding the book. It seems that not everyone loves this "modern American classic." Flannery O'Connor thought it was fine as young adult novel but shouldn't be read otherwise. Some critics thought the black characters in the story were underdeveloped (which they were) and Calpurnia was cast as the "contented slave". Attitus comes off as "stiff and self-righteous". Scout is a "highly constructed doll". And other stuff like that. To which I respond: You have a point.
Also, a few studies have concluded that white students respond more positively to the text, while black students find it "demoralizing" and view it ambivalently.
"...Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret court of men's hearts Atticus had no case." pg. 275
reviewed by Schuyler
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
- Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr. ($15)
- Border Songs by Jim Lynch ($15)
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer ($14.99)
- The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt ($16.95)
- Day After Night by Anita Diamant ($15)
- Generosity by Richard Powers ($15)
- The Good Soldiers by David Finkel ($15)
- Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich ($15)
- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver ($16.99)
- Under the Dome by Stephen King ($19.99)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Here are a selection of fantastic titles, recently released into paperback. Call and order your copy today!
- Labor Day by Joyce Maynard ($13.99)
- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger ($15)
- Lit by Mary Karr ($14.99)
- Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan ($15)
- Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead ($15.95)
- Into the North by Luis Alberto Urrea ($14.99)
- Born Round: A Story of Family, Food, and a Ferocious Appetite by Frank Bruni ($16)
- The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker ($15)
- Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell ($16)
- This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper ($15)
- The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood ($15)
- Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer ($15.95)
- The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer ($15)
- The Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead by Frank Meeink ($15.95)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
published by Little Brown
Ricky Moody, acclaimed author of The Ice Storm, Garden State and Demonology, is back with The Four Fingers of Death, a futuristic, comedic novel, featuring some crazy stuff like a murderous crawling hand, space travel, Mexican wrestling, mega churches, chimps, and teen-talking NASA scientists. This is unlike anything Moody has written and it'll prove to be a fun ride. Recommended for fans of satirical, contemporary fiction.
Monday, July 26, 2010
published by Viking
Tana French has a new novel, which is always cause for celebration. This being her third novel, French is relatively new to the mystery/thriller genre but has quickly built a loyal following. In Faithful Place, French revisits a principle character from her last novel, The Likeness, in Frank Mackey, a weathered, hard nosed detective. Mackey returns to his hometown to investigate a murder that will require all his undercover know-how as he is forced to not only track down a killer, but also confront his past, which he purposefully fled some twenty years earlier. Tana French has arrived.
Call and order your copy today!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Published by Picador
Published by Harper Collins
$15.99 (20% discount when purchased for Book Group)