As you may recall, some months ago, we mentioned the collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell entitled Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World
. Now, we know you’ve got that special creative type in your life, and you’ve been very patiently waiting for a book like this to shove under their pillow. Well, your patience is finally—
Oh what? We sold out over Small Business Saturday? We—oh, we did what? The single best day of business the store has had since the dawn of time? We sold . . . everything? Oh, well. *ahem* Uh, hang on. Let’s start again.
Once upon a time, Evelyn Nicholas had a dream. “I want to open a bookstore,” she said. “And I want it to be filled with books and books and more books, and I want people to come from miles and miles around to see my books. And I want them to take these books home and hug them and love them and squeeze them. And then I want them to come back and get more books.” Well, time passed. The earth cooled. Everyone moved a little farther away from the water. Bla bla bla bla middle bits bla bla bla . . . and eventually, we came around to last Saturday, where Evelyn’s dream came true.
So, thank you, dear readers for demonstrating that yes, indeed, someone’s imagination can change the world.
And we’re just kidding about having sold everything last week. Well, mostly kidding. Regardless, by the time you get this newsletter, we’ll have found new books to put on the shelves, and this whole process of us teasing you, and you playing coy, and then us finding even cooler books to tease you with, and you being coy still—but there’s an edge of panic to your coyness now, isn’t there, because you don’t know how much longer you can hold out, right? And then we stack even more cool books in front of you, and then you cave and come rushing in. “Fine, fine!” you shriek. “I’ll take them all! Just stop with all the fabulous books.”
And then we’ll be coy. “But we can’t,” we’ll say. “It’s just the way we’re made.”
And the cycle of life will continue.
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes. Art Matters. Indeed it does.
And speaking of marvelous things, Adrienne Mayor’s Gods and Robots
has just landed. It’s a bit academic in its approach, but we don’t mind too much because she’s looking back over ancient myths with a scientific eye, which is to say that when we’re talking about Talos—the ancient Greek statue that stalked around the island it was charged with protecting, throwing rocks at approaching ships—we’re actually talking about a giant robot. And when Homer talks of self-piloting ships in the Odyssey, Mayor sees GPS and intelligent navigation systems.
But what Mayor is really here to explore is the idea of bio-techne
—life created by artifice—and it’s clear that the idea of artificial life (and intelligence) runs deep in ancient mythologies, suggesting that we’ve been thinking about the nature of life and self for a long, long time. Gods and Robots
is a delightfully witty excursion into some deep thinky waters.
And speaking of examining who we are and how we live, William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell have put together a fabulous photographic examination of human civilization. Filled with images, essays, and commentary, Civilization
is broken down into eight thematic sections, which include “Alone Together,” “Control,” “Rupture,” and Escape.” We’re intrigued by the idea that you can quantify how all of us living together can fall into these (and other categories), and we suspect we’ll get lost in this book on more than one occasion when we’re supposed to be rearranging books on the shelves.
Anyway, while we’re getting lost in the minutia, we should point you toward the Millennium Falcon’s Owner’s Workshop Manual
. What? You’re not going to fly this thing without reading the owner’s manual. Not to mention you need to know where the smuggling panels are if you think you’re actually going to use them. And maybe there’s a section where they reveal exactly how one conflates time with distance when you’re trying to brag about how fast a ship is.
Oh, and speaking of imaginary places that are almost more real than the next state over, the Hidden Universe series continues its efforts to map the unreal universe with guidebooks to both the Klingon Empire and Vulcan. Thereby demonstrating, yet again, that we all want a serious vacation from this backwater swamp that is tilting quickly towards global Thunderdome.
Meanwhile, Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall is back in Blood Feud
. Parker, as you know, died a while back, but his iconic characters persisted with a variety of authors hoping to step in and not screw things up too badly. Well, except for Sunny Randall, Parker’s no-nonsense PI with a complicated backstory. It wasn’t until Mike Lupica took a crack at it, that Parker’s estate was confident someone could do justice to the character.
That’s right. Mike “I do sports and YA adults books about sports” Lupica. Oddly enough, Randall isn’t as much of a sports fan as Spenser, but perhaps that was part of the allure for Lupica. Either way, Sunny is back, and early reports are that her return is worth your while.
And speaking of fan favorites, it must be the end of the month because William W. Johnstone, who remains quite dead, has two—no, three—books out this week. The forty-sixth book in the Mountain Man series, the second book in the Chuckwagon Trail series, and the first in a new series, ensuring there is something for the old fan, the somewhat new fan, and the individual who has no idea why this cat has an entire bookcase devoted to his books but who is about to discover there is enough Western grit here to salt their pork for a good eighteen months or so.
Well, that probably came out weird.
Oh, look, the 2019 edition of the Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia
is out! All you ever wanted to know about analgesics, antimicrobials, anticogulants, and sixty-eight other classifications of pharmaceuticals, in a handy shirt pocket size! (Also available in deluxe Lab-coat edition, of course). Naturally, the 2019 edition is updated with all the latest FDA regulations, optimal dosing information, and alternative therapy suggestions.
Naturally, if you were FBI Special Agent A. X. L. Pendergast, you’d have all of this information memorized, which would come in handy as you investigate the mysterious death of a wealthy tech billionaire’s daughter in City of Endless Night, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s seventeen novel featuring the hyper-intelligent and altogether quirky special agent.
And speaking of esoteric insights, Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch
is out. Touted as a “complete guide to creating a magical space with rituals and spells for hearth and home,” The House Witch is perfect for getting out that lingering fried turkey smell as well as the toxic garbage that Uncle Turtleback started spewing when Aunt Tillie made the dreadful mistake of asking what everyone thought about the recent public library levy while everyone was waiting for pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
And finally, speaking of breaking molds and disrupting stereotypes, we have Guys Knit by Sockmatician, which isn’t a picture book of hot dudes knitting anoraks and floppy hats for tiny dogs—though it should be, right?—but rather a book helping men folk understand that knitting is sexy and useful, and that they should get over themselves and start barking and burping.
That’s knitting talk. Not a reference to things tiny dogs do when you’re trying to fit them with a hat.
Also, let's not forget that local author, Hans Zeiger, will be by Friday evening at 7:00pm to talk about his new book, Puyallup in World War II. We hope to see you then.