The teaser trailer for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower dropped this week, and as you can imagine, deconstructing the trailer and talking about Roland and The Man in Black and Jake and wondering when Oy is going to show up. [Well, Colby wants to know when Oy is going to show up. He was a member of the ka-tet, after all . . . ] Naturally, King’s numerous publishers have reissued all *mumble mumble* volumes of The Dark Tower in sleek new printings in case you need something to read between now and August.
What? Eight Stephen King books in the next three months? You can totally do it. Think of how many Summer Book Club Bingo stamps you’ll get.
[Note to selves: Make up those Bingo cards for next week.]
Okay, since we’ve got the bulk of your summer reading squared away, let’s look at this week’s stack of Books With Fewer Words.
And speaking of stacks, let’s start with Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani. Do you know what one cat does? It sleeps. Two? They play. Three? Ah, they stack. As you can imagine, more cats more opportunities to teach the little ones interesting words and concepts, like “asymptotic, perambulatory, and ontological persistence.”
And speaking of anthropomorphic cuteness, Ben Clanton returns with Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, a timeless tale of a narwhal seeking to understand his superpower and his sidekick, a happy-go-lucky Jellyfish. See them raise stars back into the sky! Watch them fight a butter blob by wearing waffle suits! See them put name-calling crabs into their place!
And while we’re on the subject of tasty snacks, Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri are back with more tacos! And more dragons, too. Dragons Love Tacos 2 picks up immediately after the thrilling first book, where the world discovers there aren’t enough tacos for all the dragons. Oh gosh, what are we going to do? Without tacos, the dragons will go hungry, and when they’re hungry and there aren’t any tacos, what do you think they’re going to eat?
Let’s ask Top Chef fan favorite and all-around gregarious chef, Fabio Viviani, who’s Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian is on shelves now. Hey, Fabio, what do dragons eat when there are no tacos? Is it the Blistered Sweet Pepper and Marinated Feta Salad with Arugula and Quinoa? Mmm, no. Too many greens. Or is it the Asparagus Soup with Basil Pesto and Tarragon Grape Salad? Hmmm, maybe . . . but we’re not sure if dragons like soup. Aha, maybe it’s the Cremini and Shiitake Roasted Mushroom Bisque with Rosemary “chips.”
Whichever it is, we’d like some delivered for lunch, please.
After lunch, let’s all curl up on the bean bag chairs upstairs and read Cinnamon, Neil Gaiman’s and Divya Srinivasan’s fairy tale about the princess who couldn’t talk and the tiger with all the knowledge in the world who wandered into the palace one day.
And after the kids all bed down for naps, we can sneak off and peek at the grown up titles from this week. Like Paula Hawkins’s new book, Into the Water. Ms. Hawkins, as you may recall, debuted a year or two ago with a wee book called The Girl on the Train. An early title for this book may have been The Body in the Water, but smart editors figured Hawkins didn’t want to be typecast and so they went with something a little less overt, though we may have just given away the opening scene in the book. Oops. Blame the post-lunch lethargy.
And speaking of lethargy, for those of you who like to say that you’re waiting for the paperback, we’re pleased that response no longer works in the case of Black Crouch’s Dark Matter (“a mind-blowing sci-fi/suspense/love story mash-up,” according to Entertainment Weekly, which, frankly, sounds suspiciously like Pines, the first book in Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy, but we’re sure it’s entirely different). Yaa Gyasi’s Homecoming also came out in paperback this week, and the accolades for this novel about the legacy of race and captivity are quite extensive.
And finally, on an administrative note, Campfire Bookclub will be back on June 28th. We’ll be tackling A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab—something a bit lighter this time around—and we’ll be crossing our fingers that the weather will actually let us set up the campfire this time. We have tickets and books at the store now, so come grab a copy and let’s get our summer reading started.
OVERHEARD IN THE STORE >>
FERDIE: What are you working on up there?
COLBY: I’m trying to figure out how to stack some cats for the new window display.
FERDIE: Oh, that’s—wait a minute. What kind of cats?
COLBY: Rubber ones.
FERDIE: Rubber cats?
COLBY: Yes, the plushy ones don’t look real.
FERDIE: And the rubber ones . . .
COLBY: Well, we can pull off the felt at Halloween, so they’re doing double-duty.
FERDIE: I don’t . . .
[Front door bell tinkles]
FERDIE: Oh, hello! Welcome to the bookstore.
JASPER: Good afternoon, young lady. This is—oh, my—look at this display! All these titles arranged chromatically. So clever and eye-catching. Horace, look at this!
HORACE: What? Oh, classics of literature? What is this? Iguana? Donkey hide?
FERDIE: Can I help you gentlemen find something?
HORACE: Yes, actually. I—uh, you carry a lot of titles in this store. This is marvelous. Why haven’t we been in here before, Jasper?
JASPER: I’ve told you a dozen times we should drop in, but you’ve always got some damn excuse why you can’t go in a bookstore. Hives. Allergies. Or alpaca.
HORACE: Alopecia. And you know, I can’t be around books made before 1944. Thank God, they changed the glue. Otherwise, I would have had to stick with accounting.
JASPER: Whatever. Anyway, we’re here now. And it’s a delightful store, miss. Really charming.
FERDIE: Thank you.
JASPER: I mean, it’s a lost cause and all. Bookstores are going the way of haberdasheries. It’s just—well, it’s sad, really. A good tailor can make all the difference in small town discourse. You know, the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers still exists. Founded in the mid-fifteen century. About the same time that Johannes Gutenberg was printing his first bible. Curious coincidence, really. Makes you wonder if printing for the masses led to better-dressed discourse. And now . . . well . . .
FERDIE: Um, we’ve been having a record year, actually.
JASPER: You have? Selling books?
FERDIE: Yes, books.
JASPER: Well, that’s astounding, my dear. I’m sure it’s just a minor blip and it’ll crater again soon. Like it did back in the aughts. We saw that coming, didn’t we, Horace?
HORACE: Oh, we did. We most certainly did.
JASPER: Anyway, we were just over at the Battered Casket, reminiscing about the way publishing used to do lunch, and the waitress over there—what’s her name? Henbane? Fraxinella?
JASPER: Ginger. Yes, that’s it. Ginger. Ginger tells us about this guy she met at the bar. Lives in the woods north of here. She says he just had a—what would you call it, Horace?
HORACE: An intervention.
JASPER: Yeah, an intervention. This guy had—I don’t know, I wasn’t paying that much attention—some sort of terrible love experience recently. His girlfriend ditched him for some other woman, or something—it’s not important, really.
JASPER: No. Anyway, the point of this story is that this guy turned things around for himself. Well, he had some help.
FERDIE: Did he now?
HORACE: I say! Is that a cat? Do you have a store cat? Oh, good lord, how quaint.
FERDIE: No, that’s, uh . . .
JASPER: That’s him! Horace, you blind fruit bat. That’s not a cat. That’s a marmot. That’s the one that Ginger was talking about.
COLBY: Oh dear.
FERDIE: What did you do?
HORACE: Sweet fragrant plums of Jupiter! It talks!
JASPER: We’ve wandered into Wonderland, haven’t we, Horace? I tell you; we’ve finally found it.
FERDIE: Um, found what?
JASPER: Well, the most magical place on earth, you silly woman. What else is a bookstore’s true purpose? Ho, marmot. Do you know what this Gingham was talking about?
JASPER: Whatever. Did you stage this intervention?
FERDIE: Intervention? Colby . . . !
COLBY: I’m just here for the kids. I hide on the shelves. I’m not supposed to leave the store.
JASPER: Hogwash and horseshit, marmot. I know a silver-tongued sciuridae when I see one. Fess up, now. Come on.
COLBY: Okay. Okay. Maybe I took care of a personal project during my vacation.
JASPER: You hear that, Horace? Personal project. What a hoot.
COLBY: So, why all the curiosity, granddad?
JASPER: Well, we have an opportunity for you. We want to hire you to take on our personal project.
COLBY: What sort of project?
JASPER: We need an intervention. Me and Horace used to be in the book business. A long time ago. And we had a writer—oh, boy, was he a writer. And, well . . .
HORACE: I did his first book. Put him on the literary map, too. He was working on his next book, and . . .
JASPER: Yeah, and . . .
COLBY: It’s been a while, has it?
JASPER: Yes, it has. Anyway, we want to you do that thing you did for that other guy. Get his head turned around.
COLBY: You want me to get him to finish that book?
HORACE: Oh, be still my heart. Let me not cling to this impossible dream.
JASPER: We’d be happy to get him to leave the house.
COLBY: Okay. Well, I suppose I can—I don’t know how, really, but I suppose I can . . . go visit him, I guess. What’s his name?
JASPER: Yep. Just K. It's a literary pseudonym.
COLBY: Like the guy in that book by Kafka?
HORACE: Good lord, Jasper. This marmot knows his fiction. This just might work!