This is the last newsletter before the holiday shopping season officially begins, and so we probably shouldn’t tempt the wrath of the universe by suggesting that you should come check out the Christmas books before everyone else makes a mad rush for them. And we probably shouldn’t mention the cool gift books that we’re starting to hide around the store for you to find during the holiday rush. So, we won’t.
We will, however, note that we’re having a couple of authors stop by a week from Saturday to talk about battle scenes and how to write fight stuff good. On Saturday evening at 6:30pm, Joseph Brassey and Richard Baker will be in the store, and we hope you’ll come down and join us for an fun evening. We’re trying to borrow a pair of the Daffodil Parade floats to set up a mock pirate boarding action set piece in the parking lot because a) Joe knows swords, and b) Richard knows fleet tactics.
And speaking of boarding actions and wild-eyed adventuring, we have the new Nordic Baking Book. A companion to the gorgeously illustrated and comprehensive Nordic Cookbook from a year or so ago, the Nordic Baking Book is more than 450 recipes collected by celebrated chef Magnus Nilsson from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Nothing quite as outlandish as Dead Fish Frozen for Six Months in this one. It’s mostly funnel cakes, sponge cakes, tarts, torts, and pancakes. Which is to say: entirely filled with deliciousness.
And speaking of deliciousness, how about a book on macarons? These are the wee cakes that you can pop in your mouth like a gauche bottom feeder, and not the crunchy and chewy, coconut-based, frozen-puddle-of-slush-looking dessert treat. Just in case you weren’t sure, because we weren’t, but we’re clear on it all now.
Anyway, in Les Petits Macarons, Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride offer up oodles of recipes for what goes inside these wee tasty dessert bites. Lemon Marmalade with Campari, for instance. Or Cinnamon-Apple Butter with Calvados. Or—hang on, this is section for cookies with booze in them. One moment please . . . Ah! Here’s one with pumpkin bourbon buttercream . . .
Though, why do they have to ruin perfectly good bourbon like that?
Anyway, et voilà. Le petit dessert.
And our final offering from the culinary shelves this week is Snoop Dogg’s From Crook to Cook, a collection of platinum recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen. You may not know this, but Snoop Dogg knows his way around the kitchen, and he’s even received high praise from the Culinary Queen herself, Martha Stewart. It only makes sense for Tha Boss Dogg to hit the cooking circuit with his own unique take on munchies, snacks, and family potlucks. Plus we get his world-famous gin and juice recipe, which has more commentary than actual directions.
It is all about the presentation, after all, right?
And speaking of laying out the goods in neat rows, we have copies of Myriorama, A Collection of Many Thousand Landscapes, as originally designed by John Heaviside Clark. Once upon a time, Mr. Clark created sixteen aquatints that could be arranged in any order so as to create a multitude of narrative landscapes. And now, Pomegranate, one of our favorite art and design publishers, has rendered Mr. Clark’s panels in a neat format that will readily fit on your coffee table (or kitchen table or end table). We’ve got a set open in the store, and we’re having fun making new stories every day.
And speaking of fanciful art that makes us swoon, we also have Cecilia Riuz’s The Book of Extraordinary Deaths. Now, it’s a slim volume, but each page is the story of an extraordinary death—extraordinary in this sense meaning “oh my god, that’s so tragic and terrible and yet, I can’t believe we’re laughing about it, what is wrong with us?” Now, add Ruiz’s art, and you’ve got a book that will fit neatly next to any Edward Gorey volume you’ve got in your library.
And speaking of spectacular deaths, Vince Flynn’s 17th novel featuring super-assassin Mitch Rapp (for the our team, mind you) is out this week. Red War (which is the fourth Flynn book that Kyle Mills has written because, you know, Flynn’s been gone for a couple of years now) starts with the premise of a vigorous and ruthless Russian President—known for riding shirtless and hunting wild bears—learning that he’s got a tumor in his brain. He might survive the operation, but he can’t have everyone wondering where he’s gone while he’s recuperating, and so he instructs his psychopathic chief general to stage some “distractions” while he’s away. Naturally, these distractions precipitate global annihilation, and it’s up to Mitch Rapp to singlehandedly save the world.
You just have to keep reminding yourself that this is fiction, and everything will be okay. But have some blood pressure medication on hand as you read. Or a bottle of whiskey. Whichever is easier to procure.
And speaking of high octane entertainment, Richard K. Morgan returns this week with Thin Air. It’s been twelve years since Altered Carbon (which got the deluxe Netflix treatment earlier this year), and in that time, Morgan hasn’t mellowed a bit. Thin Air, which takes place on a partially terraformed Mars, is a hard-as-nails slice of SF Noir that is dense and bloody and caustic in its commentary about commerce and corporate oversight. It’s also a thrilling read.
And finally, less thrilling but equally engaging, is Christopher Skaife’s The Ravenmaster, his memoir about living with the ravens at the Tower of London. Now, as legend has it, there’s a superstition that should the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, great harm will come to the kingdom. No one is terribly keen to verify this rumor and so an individual is tasked with making sure that the ravens remain.
The ravens, of course, totally take advantage of this, and have been known to be quite cheeky. Skaife’s memoir is a charming mix of bird lore, British history, and human psychology.