Friday, August 04, 2006

Table Love

As I’ve mentioned before, we have a table at the front of our store that doesn’t conform to any merchandising planners (nor does it exist on them), and we fill it up with titles we believe will interest our customers. The following books proved to not only be interesting to us, but several of our customers as well:

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (ISBN: 0375758771)

The publisher says:

Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls “a master storyteller.”

I say:

Both PW Weekly and Library Journal seemed to like this novel (which matters not a wit to my customers or you, I’m sure), but it’s the delicate look to the cover that gets them to pick it up, and the prose inside that gets them to the register. Fans of The Kite Runner might want to check this out.

Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman (ISBN: 0141001682)
The publisher says:

In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that-through it all-has sustained him: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."

I say:

I think this book should be required reading for every high school English class who’s complained about having to read the classics and every book group who has lost sight of the fact that books are a joy and reading an escape not everyone has. Dawson and Glaubman’s partnership has produced a book that addresses Dawson’s personal struggle to read and his life as it represents the struggles of his entire culture over a turbulent century. If you’re looking for an engaging biography to read, this is it, and my customers seem to agree with me.

Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (ISBN: 156947429X)*

The publisher says:

Feisty Dr. Siri Paiboun is no respecter of persons or Party; at his age he feels he can afford to be independent. With the assistance of Mr. Geung, an autistic lab technician, and Nurse Dtui, whose nickname means “Fatty”, he elucidates the cause of mysterious deaths even if he must defy the incumbent Communist bureaucracy to do so. In this, the second novel in the series, he travels to Luang Prabang where he communes with the deposed king who is resigned to his fate: it was predicted long ago. And he attends a conference of shamans called by the Communist Party to deliver an ultimatum to the spirits: obey Party orders or get out. But as a series of mutilated corpses arrives in Dr. Siri’s morgue, and Nurse Dtui is menaced, he must use all his powers—forensic and shamanic—to discover the creature—animal or spirit—that has been slaying the innocent.

I say:

Soho Crime always seems to put out books with a unique spin on the mystery genre and Thirty-Three Teeth is no exception. Gore sits side by side with humor in an uncommon cultural setting (Laos), and a sharp characterization ties it all together. Being in an area heavily populated by mystery readers, my customers have fallen in love with this book with absolutely no hand-selling help from me.

To Feel Stuff by Andrea Seigel (ISBN: 0156031507)*

The publisher says:

Meet Elodie Harrington, college student and medical anomaly. From chicken pox to tuberculosis, Elodie suffers such a frequent barrage of illnesses that she moves into the Brown University infirmary. When charismatic Chess Hunter enters the infirmary with two smashed knees, he and Elodie begin an intense affair, but Chess is only a visitor to Elodie's perpetual state of medical siege. As he heals, he moves back to his former life. Elodie heads in the other direction and begins to see a ghost. When Professor Mark Kirschling, M.D., gets wind of Elodie, he's convinced he can make his professional mark by cracking her case but he's entirely unprepared for what he's about to encounter.Andrea Seigel has found a wry, ingenious way to explore the contrast between the first frisson of mortality and a life lived in defiance of it.

I say:

I hate the title and the cover weirds me out, but apparently both do their job because just a day or two after setting our copies on the table we’d sold through. Now I want to know why they are so fascinated. If you’re looking for interesting characters placed in fantastical circumstances, here’s the book for you.

*Both Thirty-Three Teeth and To Feel Stuff dropped before their August 1st release date by at least a week.


Eileen said...

I love your recommendations. Bless ya. off to the bookstore list in hand like the book lemming that I am....

Little Willow said...

I want to read To Feel Stuff because I really enjoyed Like the Red Panda, her debut novel. I strongly recommend Andrea's blog. Check it out.

Lyn Cash said...

Thanks! These look awesome, particularly Life Is Good and The Glass Palace. My cuppa, ya know - lol.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of the highlights of my day. Thanks so much!

I love everything in it and will be sure to go to my bookstore and get these titles. To Feel Stuff sounds amazing.