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Friday, August 20, 2010

New Hardcovers In Store

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen- In this satirical, hilarious (of course) take on young celebrity life in Hollywood, Hiaasen takes the reader on a fun ride, full of kidnapping, double identitiies, and booze.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- It is finally here. The last installment to the Hunger Games Trilogy. Youths of the world, rejoice! Adults, rejoice too, because your kids are reading.

The Power by Rhonda Byrne- Hey, remember The Secret? Remember how it kinda changed your life? Well, The Power will expand that aforementioned life.

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory- Book Two of the Cousins' War, Gregory's new novel tells "the forgotten story of the founder of the Tudors."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Book Group Selection for September: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

My Stroke of Insight
187 pages

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

Review of : To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Book Group Selection for August)

323 pages
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

Pre-Order 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen (of The Corrections fame, for better or worse) has written a new novel called Freedom, his first in nearly ten years. Franzen returns to familiar thematic ground, as the novel details the trials of a Mid-Western couple and their ever changing neighborhood. The narrative is carried by Franzen's tremendous scope for empathy, tragedy, and hope.

Call and pre-order your copy today! (releases August 31, 2010) 847-692-2300

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Group Meets August 19th at 7pm!

Join us this Thursday, August 19th at 7pm, here in the store as we discuss To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (50th Anniversary Edition). The new selection for September will also be announced and as always, book group members will receive a 20% discount! Snacks, coffee, and lively discussion guaranteed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New in Hardcover

Check out these tasty NEW titles:
  • Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (author of Absurdistan)

  • The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julie Stuart (author of The Matchmaker of Perigord)

  • I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson (author of Out Stealing Horses)

  • Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (author of Stiff and Bonk)

The Power by Rhonda Byrne Out August 17th!

Be sure to pre-order your very own copy of The Power, Rhonda Bryne's follow up to her 2006 bestseller, The Secret.
For a pre-order, call 847-692-2300

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More New Paperbacks!

  • 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)