It isn’t very often that a new Stephen King book isn’t the big release of the week, though we're sure Mr. King doesn’t wake up on New Book Day and fret about his position on the charts. In fact, he’s probably delighted to be overshadowed this week by Mr. Clemens. That’s right. Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens has a new book out.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
is based on sixteen pages of handwritten notes found in the Mark Twain archive, and they appeared to be thoughts Twain jotted down after telling his daughters a bedtime story. Apparently, he had to tell a lot of stories at bedtime, and this one stuck in his head—not enough that he finished it, but enough that he sketched the shape of it to save for later. Of course, later
never happened and now, The Purloining
has been finished by Philip Stead and the book has been delightfully illustrated by Erin Stead.
[Purists will fuss that someone else finished the story, but the Steads are ahead of that game, in that Twain wanders into the text at some point to comment on the direction the story has taken—a very William Goldman twist, as it were.]
Speaking of King, his new book is a collaboration with his son—the other son. In Sleeping Beauties
, women all over the world become cocooned when they sleep. If this gauze layer is disturbed, they awake and become incredibly violent and feral. If the gauze isn’t disturbed, well, they don’t wake up. And that’s a problem because, you know, women are kind of imperative to the whole equation (regardless of what some dudes would like us to think). Naturally, there's at least one woman who doesn’t sleep well, and she gets caught up in a pretty gnarly battle for all the things.
[Yep. “Pretty gnarly battle for all the things.” That’s our closer. We’re going to stick with that.]
Also out this week is The Last Castle
, Denise Kiernan’s spectacular history of the Biltmore—the single largest private residence ever built in the United States. It’s only 175,000 square feet in size, with 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, 2 bowling alleys, a pool, and a library with 65 fireplaces. There are so many asides to make about these numbers, but we’re just going to focus on how immense that library must be if you need sixty-five (!) fireplaces to keep it warm.
Also, do you know what you call a library that size? A good start.
Kiernan’s last book was The Girls of Atomic City
, who made a few lists and won a few awards, and so we’re excited to read her history of this immense (and thoroughly decadent) undertaking, especially in context with what was going on in the rest of the world while construction crews were endlessly fiddling with the east wing.
And speaking of fiddling, how about Moorea Seal’s Make Yourself at Home
? A new book from the author who brought us the 52 Lists
books, Make Yourself at Home
is all about working with both the inner and outer you to help discover your true self. Frankly, we hope there are some tips on how to stop fiddling with all the crap on our desks and actually get some work done, but we’re probably projecting and should stop now. [Ed note: Too late!]
Anyway, with Make Yourself at Home
you can learn about floral ice cubes and how to host a dinner party that is affordable, beautiful, AND memorable (along with gold-patterned glassware). Along with tips for hacking your desk and your deep sleep playlists and how to match colors that don’t make your cat vomit. Totally useful stuff. And when you’re done, we’ll come visit! (And get those snacks we tried to talk you into making a week or two ago.)
Anyway, one of the other books we are excited about this week is Kat Howard’s An Unkindness of Magicians
, which is a delightful turn of phrase that even Mr. Lipton would appreciate. In Howard’s debut novel, a slightly askew New York City is suffering from a dearth of magic, and it’s up to young magician Sydney to fix it. The hitch, however, is that Sydney is kind of keen on ripping up the old to make way for the new. And is the new better? Well, that’s the other hitch. Sydney may be the villain . . . (Cue ominous music)
And over here, we have Claire Kendal’s The Second Sister
, the story of a woman’s search for her missing sibling. A search that turns . . . (cue ominous music) . . . dangerous and deadly. Which is a good thing, because if her sister just moved to South America to raise llamas, it wouldn’t be that much of a thriller. No, in The Second Sister
, the key to finding the missing sibling (whose voice is always haunting the protagonist) may lie in the mind of a killer who is locked away in a psychiatric hospital, which means . . . (cue ominous music) . . . she’s going to have to . . .
We’re not going to tell you! Read the book!
And to prove we’re not THAT cold-hearted, here’s a recent “business etiquette” book that might come in handy.
Like it says on the cover. Really. But that doesn’t apply to us or you, naturally, because you’re going to invite us over for canapés and cocktails once you’ve found the inner you, and we’ll bring snacks because we’re gracious guests and we like you. Deal? Deal.