Hello, this week's newsletter is brought to you by that feeling of "OMG, Can haz all buks now? Kthxbye!" Our lives are going to turn into terrible and non-grammatical Internet memes if we don't keep our standards up.
Now, some of you may not remember a time before Tik-Tok and hashtags, but back in the day, we had to fill the empty hours between episodes of Dallas or MacGuyver with sounding out long strings of vowels and consonants. We had to make things up in our heads! It was a crazy time, but you know what? We survived it. In fact, it probably strengthened us. And so now—like then—is about staring at your Internet device less, not more. Because the news is what it is, and it will still be what it is when you aren't looking at it. So, let's breathe and read and do this thing together.
To that end, know we get up every day with the singular goal of making sure there are ways to get books into your To Be Read stacks. There are some hoops now, but the process remains the same. You may call ahead if you like—253/891-9692. We can put an order together for you. We'll even dash out to your car with that bundle of book as you idle at the curb. You can reach us through our Facebook page and do the same. We've got a page on our website where we walk through all this. Mark it and use it, dear readers.
You can still come to the store like you always have, of course, but know that Colby's byzantine rules for social distancing apply. Not that anyone can parse his charts, but fundamentally, don't crowd the horror section. We don't have that old Dean Koontz novel the Internet is talking about, and really, Stephen King's The Stand isn't going to be as therapeutic a read as you might think. W. Bruce Cameron's books, on the other hand . . . ? Almost as good as having a puppy.
What if we do come to the store? you ask. What new things are we going to find? Well, let's look.
A new Matt Ruff novel, for one. How exciting. Matt is mercurial, and you never know what he's going to do next. With 88 Names, he tackles the whole online persona/MMORPG thing (also known as "I Know What We're All Doing This Summer"). Our protagonist is John Chu, who runs a sherpa business, which is a thing where neophytes get guided through the hard parts of online games by parties paid to carry the heavy load. Chu's latest client is a mysterious individual who has ties to a certain Southeast Asian country. When Chu starts wondering why the supreme leader of a tiny nation needs a sherpa, well, that's when things get really interesting. Like all Matt Ruff books, this one isn't exactly what it seems to be. Sure, it's like Ready Player One, but that's like saying Ruff's previous novel, Lovecraft Country, was just about cyclopean horrors from beyond time and space.
Meanwhile, Neal Bascomb is back with another historical thriller. Much like Erik Larson, Bascomb turns historical events into page-turning suspense reads. In Faster, Bascomb takes us back to the glorious and dangerous days of auto racing in 1938. Back then, Hitler hadn't gone full Nazi, but he was keen on making sure everyone knew Germany was a cool place. If a German team could win the Grand Prix, well, that would do a lot for the national pride in the fatherland, right? However, a French team funded by an American heiress with a Jewish driver had other plans. Naturally, there are lots of car chases, some explody bits, and an ending that might have been lost to history if not for Bascomb's efforts to unearth this story.
Over here, we have Eddie Robson's Hearts of Oak, which is a book about a city where everything is in its right place, except for some niggling thoughts that keep haunting several of the locals. Iona, the city's leading architect, keeps thinking about words that don't exist. The King keeps feeling . . . well, lonely, even though his cat tells him otherwise. There's something awry here, and Robson cleverly lures you in until you are rapidly turning pages, trying to figure out what's really going on in this city. This is a clever book that will distract you nicely on an afternoon when you need distracting.
Oh, and speaking of pleasant distractions, here's volume four of Brian Hart Hoffman's splendid Bake from Scratch series. You've baked everything in the first three volumes, right? No? Well, you can't say you don't have the time, so . . .
And while you're waiting for those Hawaiian Buns to cool so you can apply a delicious honey citrus glaze, how about a tale of misfit children and a misfit government that wants to pretend these rascals don't exist? TJ Klune's The House in the Cerulean Sea is a story about a well-meaning employee of a not-so-well-meaning government. Linus is sent to investigate a mysterious orphanage for the most dangerous kids. How dangerous? Well, one of them turns into a puppy when startled. THAT dangerous. As you can imagine, what Linus, our aforementioned employee of The Department in Charge of Magical Youth, discovers about this orphanage and its mysterious occupants will change his world forever.
And speaking of world-changing revelations, Mick Herron is back this week with the paperback edition of Joe Country. We've prattled quite a bit about the Slow Horses books already, and gushing more isn't necessary, but oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, Joe Country is in paperback. Would you please catch up with Mark so he can talk to someone about the many, many layers of Jackson Lamb, the world's worst boss and last best spy? There's not a better series out there right now for sly political humor, biting wit, and sardonic spycraft.
And speaking of series to read, we have several dozen to recommend if you're settling in for a book binge. Give us a shout and we'll set you up with something. In the meantime, stay safe, look away from the news now and again, and get some of that sunshine on your face.
In-store events continue to be cancelled/postponed. We're stacking books and moving things around the store. Don't forget to keep an eye out for our Sunday evening entertainment. Serial fiction is going to be cool again, we suspect, and we're doing our part to get everyone back in the groove.
And finally, we've set up a partnership with Libro.fm for audiobooks. Here's the associates link you should use. It's also in the sidebar up near the top (where you can find it every week!). If you use that link to buy audiobooks, we'll get a little bit of the purchase price. Since we don't carry new audiobooks, it's a way for you to support us when you opt for that style of reading