Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inside and Out

We’ve been talking a lot about what’s inside some of our favorite books on the blog lately.  Honestly, the words, characters, and ideas inside a book are what move us.  But, on occasion, a book can strike out at a person’s heart, grip them long before the cover is ever opened.  We’re talking about cover art.  Tin House Books’ November 22, 1963 was featured on the CBS website earlier this week, not only for the content of Adam Braver’s chronicle of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the events surrounding his wife in the aftermath, but also for the moving photo on its face, done by Rodrigo Corral Design Inc.

They say an image is worth a thousand words, which makes this front cover an unwritten prelude to the sorrowful first chapter within.  Check out the CBS article for yourself here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soho Strikes Gold

Drunken preachers, pans full of dirt and hope, and a ‘one-woman bordello’ make Soho’s newest gold rush novel, Crown of Dust, one of the most jaw-dropping, original novels we’ve come across yet.  Mary Volmer dives deep into one of the most chaotic, exciting times in American history never written about, bringing contemporary humor to bear on the quirky situations of the past. 

‘Golden Boy’ Alex Ford finds a niche in the rough, all-man town of Motherlode by disguising herself as a young man.  With the curious patronage of the town’s matron and innkeeper, Emaline, Alex is able to keep her secret safe and stay one step ahead of her bloody past, but when she strikes gold, the whole town’s attention falls on her and suddenly the rough dudes of Motherlode are looking a lot harder at the slender, quiet boy they’ve been slapping on the back for the past few months.  We could tell you more, things that would have you gaping at the screen, or laughing in disbelief, but if you want to find out why Crown of Dust is on The New York Times’ radar, or what happens when one of these gold-crazy mountain men realizes there’s something about that golden boy he can’t resist, go digging in your local bookstore.  There be gold in them shelves.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last-minute Holiday News

Our friend Frank Weimann over at The Literary Group has plenty to be proud of over the holidays.  The news came down yesterday that he has signed yet another book to Thomas Dunne, of Thomas Dunne Books.  Doctor Chopra Says: Medical Facts and Myths Everyone Should Know, by doctors Sanjiv Chopra and Alan Lotvin, is sure to be a success with both young and old people dismayed with the cost of simple medical advice as they struggle to make sense of their changing bodies.  What can we say?  Mr. Weimann knows how to pick them and if you ask us he’s knocked this one out of the park.
Speaking of all-star plays, check out this tasteful holiday gift basket we just received from the man of the hour:
Thanks Frank, and thank you, all of our readers.  We’d like to wish everyone a long, satisfying weekend.  Happy holidays!

Tin House at the Top of the Chart

If you like memoirs, or you’re a struggling writer, of if you’re just looking for a compelling, father-son story, Kirkus Reviews has a suggestion for weekend reading and last minute gifts.  This week they’ve named Tin House’s Mentor by Tom Grimes one of the top 25 nonfiction books of the year. 

The book reveals Tom’s journey from waiting tables, to marriage and a few published short stories, to entrance into the exclusive Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  His unlikely teacher, the gruff, smoke-billowing Frank Conroy is at the center of Tom’s life.  He helps Tom navigate “the incestuous logrolling of academic writers” and teaches him how to succeed in the world of publishing.  Mentor offers plenty of lessons, about writing as well as life.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More from Soho

When a series holds its readers’ attention for seven books, you know the author must be doing something right.  The Globe and Mail seems to agree, giving the latest Seymour of Scotland Yard mystery Soho Crime, A Dead Man in Malta, a place in its reviews this month. 
Michael Pearce’s latest follows Sandor Seymour through turn-of-the-last-century Malta as he hunts down the clues to the death of a German balloonist.  Several other deaths seem to be related, and the author does a bang-up job of describing the exotic terrain and mixture of cultures on the island.  While the shady paradise has its roots in Arab culture, the English influence seems to have taken hold well, but with the specter of the First World War creeping over the pristine beaches, the motivations of the natives seem conflicted at best.  Seymour struggles to put their fears to rest, catch the killer, and avoid having his own body wheeled down to the morgue.  How’s a gentleman to spare a moment for the scenery with so much intrigue afoot?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reasonably Crazy, Unreasonably Funny

Hello again, bloggers. We’re proud to share the good news with you about another fresh offering from Tin House Books – Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason features a collection of hilarious pieces (several of which were featured in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and other publications). David Sedaris of the New Yorker’s Book Bench called it a “standout” book in his yearly review, adding that “he has his finger on a very particular button, this guy, and when he pushes it, I double over laughing.” It may be a good rule to avoid judging a book by its cover, but even that gets tossed out the window by the cleverly mundane image of Captain America checking his mail. “With Your Wildest Dreams,” writes Joe Wurster, “Mike Sacks proves himself to be one of today’s best humor writers. He also proves himself to be completely and utterly out of his mind. Seriously, I don’t want this guy anywhere near me or any of my stuff.” Luckily for you, you won’t need him near you or your stuff to shake with laughter at this compilation of eye-widening juxtapositions and absurdist what-ifs. Look for it at your favorite bookseller today!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Soho a Seattle Favorite

Rock Paper Tiger receives a serious nod this week from the Seattle Times, snagging top billing on Adam Woog’s top 14 crime novels of 2010.  While the plot may be full of twists and intrigue, there is no mystery behind this praise to Lisa Brackmann’s latest.  The story’s foul-mouthed heroine is forced on the run, racing across rural China, while simultaneously chasing down clues on the internet, dealing with her past in Iraq and a broken marriage to a former mercenary love.  Worse, her new Chinese boyfriend might just be more than a charming, passionate artist.  What’s it going to take to get this shell-shocked former medic a break, or at least five minutes away from the Men in Black and her host of lurking stalkers?  Pick up Rock Paper Tiger today and find out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Mystery from Soho!

More good news and New York Times reviews for Soho this week.  Every Bitter Thing takes its turn basking in the limelight, owing the attention to its main character and the “elasticity of his ethics,” says reviewer Marilyn Stasio. Chief Inspector Mario Silva discovers the depths of a crime that could be pinned on an innocent, unless the inspector finds justice outside the boundaries of the law – but vigilante justice isn’t all Soho’s latest hit has to offer.  Leighton Gage sets his police procedural in refreshingly exotic Brazil, with fresh twists and the challenges of a corrupt criminal justice system plaguing our detective who “must constantly refine the skills that allow him to function.” What are you waiting for? Pick up the latest in the series Publishers Weekly called “intelligent and subtle… suspenseful and sophisticated,” and the New York Times called “Top notch,” and grab one for the suspense fan on your Christmas list, too.