There’s a long and torturous story about data management, user interfaces, and the complicated minutia that distinguishes “NYR” from “FTR” in our ordering system, but that’s a story best told in person. Or, not at all, frankly, because the weeds there are very, very high.
So, we’ll just cut to the chase and say, “Why yes, we do have copies of #imomsohard this week; thanks for asking.”
#imomsohard, for those who haven’t seen Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley attempt to navigate modern swimsuit fashion for real-life bodies
, are a pair of Nebraska-born moms who have found their calling, which is to say, having a glass of wine and talking about what every mom out there is thinking. And now, they’ve written a book. It’s funny; it’s crass; it’ll make you nod in agreement as you refill your wine glass from the box in the kitchen. It’s honest self-awareness that should be a reminder to all of us that we’re the best we’ve got, and that should damn well be enough.
And speaking of self-awareness, Nell Freudenberger’s new book, Lost and Wanted
, is out this week. Ostensibly a novel about grief and friendship and models for quark gluon plasma, Freudenberger does something extraordinary in the telling of the life-long friendship between Helen Clapp, a brilliant physicist, and Charlotte Boyce, a equally brilliant screenwriter. In the beginning, you see, Charlotte has died, but Helen is getting texts from Charlotte’s phone (which has gone missing since her death). Now, Helen’s no believer in ghosts, but her research along the fringes of five-dimensional spacetime leave her open to . . . strange things. And strange things lead to wondrous things, right?
And speaking of strange things and a certain degree of narrative tension, we also have Caitlin Starling’s debut novel, The Luminous Dead
, which is the story of two women, some deep cave stuff, and monsters. Think Neil Marshall’s The Descent
meets Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation
, and now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go stand out in the middle of a lighted football field until these nervous ticks about monsters and dark spaces go away.
Or we could go make a cake. Debbie Brown’s new recipe book, Magical Cakes
, has nearly two dozen delightfully whimsical cake recipes that will probably not turn out quite like the pictures when you attempt them at home. Which is okay. Cake is cake, and it doesn’t always matter if you can tell if the cake topper is Hedwig—Harry Potter’s owl—or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters
However, if you’re a bit of a traditionalist, there’s always Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes: Easy Bakes in Minutes
. Naturally, if you’ve been caught up in the national craze that is trying to figure out the series order of the Great British Baking Show
, you are familiar with Mary Berry’s stature in the wild world of baking, and this new book may be the closest any of us get to competition-style baking.
Not that baking is always a competition, mind you. Mostly, it's a casual exploration and mastery of chemistry, thermodynamics, biology, and extrusion mechanics.
And while we are on the subject of seemingly impossible tasks, Erin Gates has some ideas about home organization and aesthetics with Elements of Family Style: Elegant Spaces for Everyday Life.
We’ll couple with this Jeff Andrews’s The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality
, and we’ll let you decide which is more attainable.
Had a minute to think about it? Yeah, us, too. And frankly, we’re delighted if we can come up with an organizational schema that a) allows to us to find that book we know we bought in the last six months, and b) not get buried under a stack of paperbacks when we inadvertently back up into a stack while trying to peer at the bottom three books in a different stack.
And speaking of trying to remember where you stashed a book, Erin Somers’s debut Stay Up With Hugo Best
is out this week. Hugo Best is a late-night legend, and he’s just retired, and in an odd moment, he invites one of his writers’ assistance out to his up-state estate for the Memorial Day Weekend. The set-up has all sorts of complications baked into it, and it’s a testament to Somers’ cleverness and melancholic touch that the book never goes where you think it will, and in the end, manages to be something that lingers quite artfully. We dug it, and we’re pretty sure we immediately lent our copy to a friend, which is always a sure sign of approval.
And speaking of things we approve of, Sara Pennypacker’s Pax
is now out in paperback. Pax is the story of a boy and his fox, and how, frankly, they should never be separated. Of course they are, and over the course of the story, Pax goes on many adventures as he works his way back to his boy.
We are not packaging this with a box of tissues, but we should.
Differently, but yet the same, is Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight
, also out in paperback this week. Warlight
is set in post-war London, and tells the story of Nathaniel and Rachel and the enigmatic figure they know as The Moth. Naturally, being an Ondaatje novel, nothing is quite as it seems, and while we don’t wander deep in a magical forest, we’re pretty sure you can see it from the edges of the novel.
AND, also out this week in paperback is Richard Powers’s The Overstory
, which we mentioned back in the dark and misty days of last spring. In fact, we’ll save you the headache of going and looking in the newsletter archives. Here's the elevator pitch part of our commentary. “It’s a little bit of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks
, a little bit of Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang
, and a little bit of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees
Makes about as much sense now as it did then, doesn’t it? You’re welcome.
R. S. Belcher's The Six-Gun Tarot
is out this week in mass market paperback, by the way. It's a horror western novel with tarot overtones and--oh, look, Mark has wandered off to grab the copy on the shelf, and, well, anyway, it's like Tim Powers and Grant Morrison decided to revisit Deadwood
, but went and exhumed Louis L'Amour's corpse in order to cast his knucklebones for critical plot decisions.
And speaking of esoteric mysteries welded to action plots, Orbit has decided to re-release all of Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels (they call them "Exorcisms," which is a nice touch). Carey, as you may know, wrote The Girl With All The Gifts
recently, which has been warmly received, and back in the day, he wrote Hellblazer
for DC's Vertigo line. Which makes the whole premise of the Felix Castor novels ("Mike Carey does Dresden, but sets it in London, where everything has a hundred years of esoteric backstory") seem like a no-brainer. Carey wrote five of them, the world moved on, and now they are available again. We give this a thumb's up. Or maybe a Golden Dawn "I Brought Donuts To This Lodge Meeting" hand signal. Or something like that. Hang on. We'll go check John Michael Greer's The Occult Book
to be sure.
Haha! Fooled you. You thought we meant Greer's The Conspiracy Book
, but no! There's a second volume! Greer has published both The Conspiracy Boo
k AND The Occult Book
And now you're annoyed that you don't have both. It's okay. We had the same reaction.
Anyway, all hand-waving aside, let's tangent on over to the thriller section where we'll find the mass market paperback edition of Laird Barron's first Isaiah Coleridge novel.
"Wait a second," you say. "That looks like a thriller cover. Like, a Lee Child or a Nick Petrie cover. I thought Laird was a horror writer?" And you wouldn't be wrong in all of this. Yes, Laird is better know for writing marvelously erudite horror fiction (he's won the Shirley Jackson Award three times, after all), but some bright soul over at Putnam convinced him to take the Jack Reacher Blueprint out for a spin. The result is Blood Standard
, a bloody-knuckled romp through the Alaska wilderness with a character who ate a bunch of The Evil That Men Do for breakfast and is out looking for a solid slab of Redemption with a side of Second Chances for lunch.
The second book is out next month. Plan accordingly.
In the pretty pictures department, we have the first volume of Simon Spurrier's and Matias Bergara's Coda
, which is a "relentless kaleidoscope of bittersweet wonders" wherein a loner in search of love ventures across a magic-scarred apocalyptic landscape in company of a foul-tempered mutant unicorn.
It's a buddy story, of course. And the art is like P. Craig Russell and Arthur Suydam got in a fight over the box full of watercolors.
And finally, we have Lori Gottlieb's Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
, which is both a memoir and a illuminating exploration of the whole "What's the point of it all?" question that swims--aged crocodile-like--in the depths of our psyches. Gottlieb is a professional therapist. She's also seeing a therapist. This puts her in an interesting position of being both the observer and the observee, and from that slightly schizophrenic viewpoint, she offers some thoughts about what makes us functional adults. Or not, as the case may be.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
is kind of like going to therapy. You're not sure why you need it, you're not entirely sure it's not total hokum, but once you start, you realize that it's not about you so much as it is about what it is to be you. And everyone else. At the very least, it's a funny book about the foibles of being a thinking creature in a world that doesn't really care about your existence.
That past bit isn't entirely true, of course, because we care. We do. We're your booksellers, after all.