Right, well, we might as well get to the important stuff first. The physical bookstore is closed. Like, don't come down and press your nose up against the glass and wonder where we are kind of closed. Like, mandated by the folks in the Big House in Olympia so that we can all stay home and be safe kind of closed. Like, going to open again as soon as we can but not this week kind of closed.
That said, the bookselling and bookloving will continue, because you cannot stop the sharing of books. You cannot stop that love. The earth could split open and giant, fire-breathing turtles with head nozzles that shoot jets of acid could come raging out, and we'd still be trying to get your attention about the latest release from that writer who stayed behind. The one who kept bashing away at their keyboard, even as hailstones bigger than California condors tore up the roof of their tiny writing shack. The one—what? Oh, the store's empty? Oh, right. That stay-at-home thing.
Anyway, yes, the physical store is closed for the time being. Our virtual store (via the marvelous people at bookshop.org) is still very open. You can find it HERE. While we're all hanging out at home, this is how you get your books. Three easy steps. Here we go.
- Read this newsletter. Make note of all the books we mention that you must have.
- Click over to our bookshop.org site.
- Order all those books.
Do you know what happens next? Those books come to your house! We don't even know how it works. [Ed. note: actually we do.] It's like magic, isn't it? Books you like -> books into shopping cart -> Books on doorstep.
Each week we'll include a link to a list we'll make of the books we talk about in the newsletter. Additionally, we're going to pop up on Facebook now and again with other lists. Yes, it's not the same as actually saying, "Hey, Rich, what should I be reading in graphic novels these days?", but it'll be a close second.
Not that close. Six-and-a-half feet sort of close.
Anyway, we're going to stay busy talking about books. You're going to stay busy talking back to us about books. You'll be reading books. We'll be reading books. We've got that serial thing on Sunday to keep you entertained. It's like a book-lovers' sleepover, without actually sleeping over.
And now! This week's exciting releases.
First up, we have a new book from Emily St. John Mandel. This time around, Mandel examines the world that remains after the collapse of an elaborate ponzi scheme. Mandel traffics in high-level thematic notions in The Glass Hotel, which means we'd be selling it short if we said it had sex and explosions and car chases and escaped tapirs who go on a rampage through an ice cream factory. It's got none of that sort of low-brow escapist nonsense. The Glass Hotel deals with heartache and loneliness and wealth and corruption and guilt and, oh for crying out loud! No, it's not a metaphor for Day Three of Being Stuck At Home.
Look. The Glass Hotel is a story about people, and it's messy and complicated and some of the facts don't line up and we're never quite sure if this part is a flashback or a flash-forward, and somewhere in there, there's got to be some sort of catharsis, right? It's a ghost story about being haunted by yourself, in a way, but it's also not about you. It's about all of us.
Meanwhile, N. K. Jemisin is back with The City We Became, which is both a love story about the place we call home and a smashingly adroit urban fantasy novel about identity, class, and humanity. In every age and place, when a city is about to be born, it choses a human avatar. In Jemisin's version of New York, the Enemy takes a pre-emptive stab at killing New York City's avatar. The assault nearly succeeds, and in order to save the newly vulnerable city, the five boroughs each form their own avatar. What was one is now five, and hoo dandy doo! the Enemy is in for it now. Except, of course, none of these five really know what they are doing . . .
And speaking of delightful plotting that will make you stay up all night, James Rollins is back with The Last Odyssey, the fifteenth SIGMA Force novel. Rollins is sort of the archeologist to Clive Cussler's deep sea diver when it comes to narrative background, and there are parts of this latest SIGMA Force excursion that sound like the sort of adventure that normally has Cussler's name on it. Or Matthew Reilly's name, come to think of it. Anyway, Rollins is part of that cadre of adventure writers who finds a clever bit of historical what-have-we-here?, mixes it up with a megalomaniacal crusader bent on world domination, and then whips it all together with big explodey set pieces.
No, Rollins is not exploring themes of grief, loneliness, heartbreak, or guilt in The Last Odyssey. That's Emily St. John. Rollins is making things go boom-boom. You can read both. We won't judge. In fact, in our heads, we hear James Rollins reading The Glass Hotel and Emily St. John Mandel reading The Last Odyssey.
Meanwhile, here's a couple of curl-uppers. Susan Mallery's The Sumer of Sunshine and Margot features two very different protagonists with very different situations. Fortunately, they both come to the same realization as they search for love and the lives they've always wanted. Summer reads arrive early this year. Don't be shy about it. Curl up and find out how Margot and Sunshine find their destinies!
Also, we have Robyn Carr's The View from Alameda Island, which is the story of a woman who decides that life is too short to deal with a controlling jerk of a husband and who sets out to find her own way in the world. As luck would have it, she runs into a fella who's doing the same thing with his "perfect life." Look at them! Two people who realize "perfect" isn't as cool as it sounds. Can they find something "less-perfect" but equally happiness inducing? Can our protagonist escape the foul clutches of her ex, who is more than a little freaked out by how unprepared he is to do his own laundry? Is there smooching? Gosh, we hope so.
And speaking of sparkling romances, here's Mhairi McFarlane's If I Never Met You. Now, a couple of months ago, this book would have seemed like a charming romantic comedy, but these days? Well, it has this . . . fantastic tone to it now. See, Laurie is a hot young lawyer who is having a relationship with another hot young lawyer. In fact, they both work at the same firm. When their relationship takes a sudden disastrous turn, Laurie wonders how she can survive working in the same office as this doofus. Then, after an elevator mishap leaves her in the arms of the office playboy, well, who knows where this may lead?
HAVE THESE PEOPLE NOT HEARD OF SOCIAL DISTANCING?
Anyway, it's the hot lawyer version of whatever that Shakespeare play is where everyone pretends to like each other for reasons of vanity and strategic career management, but end up falling in love anyway. We feel like we may have spoiled the ending, but frankly, all the descriptions of people being within six feet of each other is going to make this way steamier than the author probably intended.
Okay, fine. Here's your topical book pick for the week. It's on backorder already. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. The author probably is, in a good way. Apparently, there's a blog where a lot of this came from, and so you can start there while you're waiting for the warehouse to get more copies.
Meanwhile, B. J. Daniels is pinging all the right keywords in Heartbreaker, her latest Montana Justice romantic suspense thriller. "Ex-military man Thorn Grayson has debts to pay, which is the only reason he agrees to leaving his isolated mountain cabin to investigate a downed aircraft. What he finds isn't what he expects, and it sets him on a collision course that might ruin everything he's worked so hard to set himself apart from."
We reworked a little of Heartbreaker's marketing copy. Only a little.
"Upon waking from a deadly plane crash where she is the only survivor, JJ finds herself confronted with a man whose name screams 'intimacy issues.' Never one to pass up a challenge, JJ agrees to his hard and fast rule of 'KEEPING HER DISTANCE,' but all the while, she's thinking about how much she wants to touch his naked flesh."
Come on. Is Thorn Grayson not the hero of our times? "Yes, ma'am, I'm happy to rescue you, but keep your damn distance, if you don't mind."
And finally, here's a book about a monosyllabic plant and a talking raccoon. Hijinks ensue. As does alliteration. Stuff probably blows up. This one is exactly what you need after reading the news for five minutes.
No, seriously. Don't look more than five minutes. Go read something delightful.
We'll be on Facebook. Come visit us. We'll swap stories about how terrible we are at cooking from scratch, or what happens when you spend four hours looking for that one puzzle piece that is shaped like a stupid donkey head. It should be obvious, shouldn't it? But nooo, it's nowhere to be found, and no one is leaving the house until . . . well, never mind that last bit. Be kind, be attentive, and be safe. We miss you already.