From the Shelf
Cold Cases for Hot Days
In the dog days of summer, one of the best ways to escape the heat is by reading books set in colder climes. Fortunately, a bounty of new Icelandic crime fiction is available to send a chill (of more than one variety) down readers' spines.
Arnaldur Indridason (Black Skies; Strange Shores) is perhaps the best known of the Icelandic mystery authors, with nine of his 12 Inspector Erlendur books translated into English. Erlendur is a taciturn detective whose life has been shaped by a childhood tragedy (his younger brother vanished in a blizzard). There's an underlying dark social commentary to all of Erlendur's cases; racism, drug addiction and Icelandic insularity come into play. This slightly gloomy view is emphasized by Erlendur's own obsessions with missing people and exposure to the elements.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Ashes to Dust; The Day Is Dark) has written a series featuring attorney Thóra Gudmundsdottir. Thóra is a hardworking single mother who sometimes can't help digging a little deeper than she ought to on a client's behalf. Iceland's long history--of mysticism, volcanic explosions and violence--influences each of Thóra's cases.
Quentin Bates (Frozen Assets; Cold Steal) also features a female protagonist--the sarcastic Gunnhildur is a police officer in a small town as the series opens. Gunnhildur is later promoted to Reykjavik, where current events (including the recent Icelandic financial meltdown) flavor her investigations.
Michael Ridpath (Where the Shadows Lie; Far North) combines a current setting with Iceland's epic history. His series featuring Detective Magnus Jonson (who grew up in Boston, but had to return to his native Iceland when a Dominican cartel put a hit on him), occasionally contains fantastical elements from the ancient sagas familiar to all Icelanders.
Any of these authors are sure-fire distractions from the heat index, and their books provide a chance vicariously to enjoy Iceland's cold climate and distinctive culture. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm
In this Issue...
by Jean-Patrick Manchette
A spare, hard-boiled novel of suspense translated from the French, ideal for fans of classic noir.
by David A. Carter
An interactive alphabet book starring the Happy Little Yellow Box, from brilliant author-artist and paper engineer David Carter.
by Fredrik Backman
With the help of his neighborhood, a widower finds a new lease on life just when he's trying to end it all.
Review by Subjects:
From Tattered Cover Book Store
07/23/2014 - 7:00PM
The Moon in Literature; Signs of Book Addiction
"A projector on Mount Fuji beams adverts on to the face of the moon in which sci-fi novel?" To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the lunar surface, the Guardian offered a "moon in literature quiz."
"One of your favorite things to do when arriving in a new city is to check out the local bookstores." Thought Catalog listed "49 signs you're addicted to reading."
Noting that with the success YA books are having at the box office, "it was only a matter of time before television stepped up its game and started to adapt more children's and young adult books into TV series," Flavorwire suggested "10 children's book series that deserve TV adaptations."
Buzzfeed featured "26 iconic book covers changing over time."
U.S. artist Cory Arcangel created "a book that contains the tweets of people who are 'working on a novel,' " Design Taxi reported.
For fans who think they know everything about a certain popular author whose characters include Ramona Quimby and Socks the Cat, Mental Floss offered "12 charming tidbits about Beverly Cleary."
Now in Paper: July
Ready for a Brand New Beat: How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America by Mark Kurlansky (Riverhead, $16)
Kurlansky looks at the Motown recording machine and the history of an unlikely 1960s anthem, using "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas, with its undertones of protest, to explore the twin histories of the civil rights movement and popular music.
I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman (Scribner, $16)
Chuck Klosterman draws upon society's most publicly condemned figures in an entertaining contemplation of villainy. For example, the question is not why Hitler was evil, but what our interpretation of his evilness reveals about society as a whole. Klosterman's strange humor provides all the necessary incentive to follow him through far-flung analogies and even the occasional personal tangent.
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99)
An examination of how murder and the murder mystery novel infiltrated our modern world by way of 19th-century Britain, The Invention of Murder tells the tale admirably well, even entertainingly. Flanders introduces a lengthy list of famous (and obscure) murderers and serial killers, culminating, of course, with Jack the Ripper.
Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink--and How They Can Regain Control by Gabrielle Glaser (Simon & Schuster, $15.99)
An informative investigation into why women drink and its effects on their health and social lives, Her Best-Kept Secret traces the evolution of women's relationship to alcohol. Alcohol, we've been told, combats stress, depression and menopausal symptoms, and Glaser offers stories of women who have successfully dealt with their alcoholism through alternative, private programs as well.
Thinking in Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math by Daniel Tammet (Back Bay, $16)
The author of Born on a Blue Day returns with a smart, engaging, accessible guide to the intersection of mathematics, philosophy and daily life. Daniel Tammet explores math as it relates to family relationships, snowflakes, chess and a host of other topics, from Shakespeare learning the concept of zero to the unknowable poetry of prime numbers.
Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99)
There are two likely reactions to David Rosenfelt's entertaining, self-deprecating account of driving from California to Maine with 25 dogs: "That man is crazy" or "What a blast!" Either one is reasonable. Generous dog lovers volunteered to help, Cruise America allowed him and his wife to rent three RVs and, after a lot of planning, the crew set out.
Love Him or Leave Him but Don't Get Stuck with the Tab: Hilarious Advice for Real Women by Loni Love (Simon & Schuster, $15)
Loni Love's side-splitting advice guide on love and relationships is best enjoyed over a cocktail straight-up. She's got sass, she's got class and she'll kick your... preconceived notions of dating and courtship to the curb. Love tells women where it's at when it comes to the age-old manhunt.
The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard (Back Bay, $16)
A blend of personal narrative, science and history exploring the effects of light pollution and the decline of true night, The End of Night takes readers from the dazzling Las Vegas Strip to national parks such as Acadia in Maine and Death Valley in California, where thousands of stars are still visible.
The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, 20 Posters and a New Understanding of Love by Nancy Davidson (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.99)
When therapist Nancy Davidson's beloved cat, Zak, went missing, she placed posters in her neighborhood; after many anxiety-filled days, cat and owner were happily reunited. During her search, Davidson became fascinated by other lost cat posters and the stories of the owners; she writes with sensitivity and respect about missing felines and their human friends.
The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan (Morrow, $14.99)
After Dr. Kate Philo and a team of scientists discover a man encased in an iceberg in the Arctic, they bring him back to their lab in Boston and reanimate him. With a love story at its core, The Curiosity asks provocative questions about whether science should explore altering life's natural order.
Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano (Harper Perennial, $14.99)
A young Mexican girl's poignant story unfolds in words and pictures as she slowly turns the 54 loteria cards and takes her chances. She's alone in a center for children. She won't talk to anyone. At the story's heart is a mystery to be slowly revealed as each card is turned over.
The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe by Mary Simses (Back Bay, $15)
A big-city attorney, on a quest to deliver a letter from her grandmother to an old flame, falls under the spell of small-town life. She encounters a cast of locals whose ways seem foreign to her, but slowly become more endearing. Simses has crafted a wholesome love story, infused with the pull-and-tug of romance and elements of mystery.
The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy by James Purdy (Liveright, $22.95)
James Purdy is considered by some to be an authentic American genius, yet most "well-read" Americans haven't heard of him. His subject matter is a cross between Nathanael West and Flannery O'Connor. Purdy deserves our rediscovery. The seemingly simple yet compelling prose of The Complete Short Stories belies the haunting, slightly creepy stories that live within.
The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press, $14)
In Blake's second Wolfe family novel, a young cousin ignores the family rules and winds up with an army of Mexican cartel assassins chasing him back to the border. Blake's "border noir" becomes a long, volatile bilingual chase scene full of killing, car crashes, drugs, double-crosses and desert storms.
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Ove, an elderly Swedish curmudgeon, always views the world in black and white, right and wrong. But when the three-year-old next door draws a picture of him, her mother explains to Ove, "You're the funniest thing she knows. That's why she always draws you in colour."
In his quirky, heartwarming debut, Fredrik Backman introduces the world to Ove, who recently lost his wife, Sonja, to cancer and his job to downsizing. Ove lived for both and feels suddenly irrelevant, so he's resolved to commit suicide. Fate has other plans. When they turn to Ove for help, an overweight IT geek, a spirited family new to his neighborhood, a gay young man, an old friend/archenemy and even a stray cat interrupt Ove's meticulous strategy to rejoin his wife in the afterlife.
Backman juxtaposes the seriousness of tragedy with the hilarity of life's unpredictability in a respectful and endearing recitation of Ove's experiences. The chapters alternate between the past and the present; as Ove tries repeatedly to leave this world, readers learn more about his beautiful love story with Sonja.
A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman's characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods.
This astounding, colorful debut inspires both laughter and tears: part love story, part crusade, all wonderful. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts
Discover: With the help of his neighborhood, a widower finds a new lease on life just when he's trying to end it all.
by Robin Black
Augusta "Gus" Edelman, the 47-year-old narrator of Robin Black's quietly thoughtful first novel, is a modestly successful artist and teacher. Her husband, Owen, has published a few well-received but sparsely read small-press books. They are mostly content in their shared life, until Gus has a brief, intense affair with the father of one of her students. Life Drawing is Gus's story--not only of her marriage and regrettable infidelity, but also of the untimely death of her young mother when Gus was a toddler, the loss to cancer of her oldest sister and the increasing dementia of her father. The creative impulse of her art sustains her, even when "what seemed unimaginably exhilarating gets bogged down... and then it is work. Then it is hard."
After he learns of Gus's affair, Owen is willing to hang on. They use a small inheritance to leave the city and purchase a farmhouse, isolated enough from former distractions that they can attempt to repair their marriage. But when an attractive divorced 50-year-old woman rents the farm next door, her unexpected intrusion disrupts their solitary rural retreat and tragically shakes the fragile balance of Gus and Owen's marriage.
Black (If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This) probes the vicissitudes of a mature marriage with an understanding of the effort it takes to make one work, aptly capturing its uneasy heart: "We are a universe. You and me. Our own f**ked up, beautiful, inexplicable universe." That may not be much, but in a world of irrevocably broken marriages, it may just be enough. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.
Discover: A deft exploration of a mature marriage with all the tension, patience, anger and love its longevity requires.
Mystery & Thriller
The Mad and the Bad
by Jean-Patrick Manchette , trans. by Donald Nicholson-Smith
Michel Hartog, an architect, is made fabulously wealthy by the sudden death of his brother and sister-in-law. Along with their riches, he inherits the responsibility of caring for their spoiled young son, Peter. Michel, known to employ the damaged and ill, uses his wealth to have a shockingly beautiful young woman released from an insane asylum to look after Peter. Julie Ballanger is rightfully suspicious of her new patron, who immediately supplies her with alcohol (which mixes poorly with her medications).
Four semi-competent thugs have been hired to execute Julie and Peter, but they bungle the kidnapping, and their captives escape. Racing toward a labyrinthine estate in the mountains with her young charge, Julie hopes to find her employer and safety--in fact, she finds neither.
Donald Nicholson-Smith's 2013 translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's The Mad and the Bad (originally published in French in 1972) is the first into English, and is introduced here by American crime writer James Sallis. The plot is straightforward, and the characters' motives are fairly simple, if profoundly disquieting: to kill, to survive, to inflict pain or to avoid it. The bulk of the story is devoted to character sketches and explorations of those simple, disturbing motivations. Nicholson-Smith's translation is unadorned, a perfect match for Manchette's style, which is sparse and tersely written but with an artistic eye for detail. The dialogue is spare, almost dreamlike, and the settings tend toward the cinematic. The Mad and the Bad is odd and gruesome, but maintains a twisted sense of humor throughout. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia
Discover: A spare, hard-boiled novel of suspense translated from the French, ideal for fans of classic noir.
Enemies at Home
by Lindsey Davis
Flavia Albia, a "private informer" in First Century Rome, has her own rules for taking on new cases: never do favors for friends or family; don't take on clients who are unable to pay; avoid working with anyone you find attractive. Although her latest case--a burglary and double murder of middle-class, middle-aged newlyweds--breaks all those rules, Albia can't resist. The result is a highly entertaining journey through the streets of ancient Rome.
In her second Flavia Albia novel, Lindsey Davis (author of a series featuring Albia's father, Marcus Didius Falco) explores a widespread social problem in Rome, where slaves far outnumbered their masters. If a head of household was murdered at home, the crime was automatically blamed on his slaves, who would be executed unless another culprit was found. Knowing this, Albia interviews the dead couple's slaves, their steward (a freedman) and several neighbors. In the seemingly happy household, she uncovers a nest of small jealousies, betrayals and complicated loyalties. Since her colleague on this case is the handsome magistrate Manlius Faustus, Albia (a widow) must also work to keep her professional life separate from her personal feelings.
Albia's voice--witty, intelligent, often caustic--is the great strength of this novel, which sometimes proves confusing with its liberal use of long Roman names and titles. Though the plot often meanders, it contains several satisfying twists (including a subplot on Roman gangs) and a tantalizing hint of romance. For mystery lovers and those interested in ancient Rome, Enemies at Home is a light, engaging read. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
Discover: A satisfying mystery set in ancient Rome, narrated by a witty detective.
The Bleiberg Project
by David Khara , trans. by Simon John
The first of David Khara's Consortium Thrillers series to be translated from French to English, The Bleiberg Project introduces depressive Wall Street trader Jeremy Corbin.
Tragic events a few months earlier have left Jeremy struggling, which isn't helped by two army officers arriving to inform him his father (who abandoned the family 20 years earlier) is dead. But when Jeremy goes to tell his mother about his father's death, she responds by handing him a locket inscribed with a swastika. Bewildered, Jeremy follows the trail of clues that start with the locket, and he quickly discovers that his father's abandonment was a cover story for something far more dangerous. His dad, Lt. General Corbin, had been looking into a mysterious group called the Consortium, with shadowy ties to Nazi atrocities.
Jeremy's father had friends at Langley who want the younger Corbin to continue where his father left off, so they give him a hot CIA bodyguard named Jackie and instructions to head to Zurich. Jackie and Jeremy flirt their way to Switzerland, despite a scarily effective Mossad agent on their tail. Can Jeremy find out what the Consortium is up to and why his father was killed before the bad guys catch up with him?
The Bleiberg Project is a roller-coaster of a book, with terse prose that jumps back and forth from World War II to the present day. The truths that Jeremy and Jackie uncover are shocking, and frankly unbelievable, but the thrill of the ride helps to suspend disbelief. The Bleiberg Project is a fun, fast-paced thriller that is over all too quickly. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm
Discover: In this breakneck thriller, a Wall Street trader must outwit shadowy Nazi forces.
Food & Wine
Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces from the Author of Food in Jars
by Marisa McClellan
Pity the back-to-basics foodie living in a small apartment: hungering for homemade pickles and jams but unable to handle the bushels of produce and dozens of canning jars most recipes demand. Marisa McClellan, whose blog Food in Jars (also the title of her 2012 book) was the springboard for Preserving by the Pint, can help these troubled souls.
Urban canners aren't the only ones who can benefit from McClellan's creative small batches. Empty nesters, folks with fruit trees and gardens yielding seasonal bounty, and givers of homemade treats will find favorites among her easy-to-follow recipes. She introduces tools and techniques in a demystifying first chapter, and then it's off to the market or the garden.
Recipes both sweet and savory are grouped by season. McClellan favors less-common fruits and vegetables; spring brings four rhubarb delicacies and only three strawberry-based. Winter includes a predictable cranberry recipe and five others that feature lemons--all creative and mouthwatering.
Bits of food-centric memoir--from her West Coast childhood of crab feasts and apple cider to tales of foraging in the markets near her Philadelphia home--and a few recipes that pair well with her preserves give this cookbook a friendly ambiance. What should you do with your one precious pint of sour cherries with Bourbon? Drop them, one by one, in your next round of cocktails. Need a perfect homemade gift? Try pairing whole-wheat shortbread with a jar of preserves (maybe lavender-lemon marmalade, or perhaps Italian plum jam with star anise).
A full-page photo opposite every recipe invites the canner, novice or veteran, to try these easy steps to achieve delightful delicacies in a jar. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco
Discover: How preserving small batches of fruits and vegetables can be easy and productive.
Tudors Versus Stewarts: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots
by Linda Porter
The rivalry between Elizabeth Tudor (later crowned as Elizabeth I) and her first cousin Mary Stewart has been the subject of many biographies. Both descendants of Henry VII, the women each had a legitimate claim to the English throne; as the daughter of James V of Scotland, Mary Stewart could also claim the Scottish throne, which would give her the power to unite Britain and end the centuries-long feud with France.
Although much ink has been spilled on the tense relationship between the two cousins, few have tried to explain how this "perfect storm" of loyalty and rivalry developed; Tudors Versus Stewarts aims to fill the void. Linda Porter (The Myth of "Bloody Mary") puts this infamous feud in context by beginning not with the circumstances of Mary Stewart's ascension or even her birth, but with the defeat of Richard III by Henry Tudor (Henry VII) at the Battle of Bosworth. Porter weaves together the depths of the Tudor-Stewart family rivalries and interconnections with the decade of political maneuvering that placed the would-be queens in such a precarious position.
Far from a case of mere "cousin rivalry" or jealousy, the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth was deeply political, and each woman keenly felt the welfare of nations resting on her shoulders. Tudors Versus Stewarts brings this relationship and its players to life in clear, elegant prose that does justice to one of the most well-known royal intrigues in British history. --Dani Alexis Ryskamp, blogger at The Book Cricket
Discover: The significance of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her reign in the context of one of Britain's most complex and extended dynastic power struggles.
Health & Medicine
Meat Is for Pussies
by John Joseph
In Meat Is for Pussies: A How-To Guide for Dudes Who Want to Get Fit, Kick Ass, and Take Names, John Joseph, singer of hardcore band the Cro-Mags, is profane, judgmental and obnoxious--as well as passionate, knowledgeable and well-intentioned--as he hopes to convince red-blooded American males (and anyone else who'll listen) that embracing a plant-based diet is imperative.
Joseph believes "eating defenseless animals doesn't make you tough, numb-nuts, it makes you a coward. You wanna eat meat? Then instead of purchasing factory-killed, slickly packaged animal parts, have some balls and tear one down with your bare hands and rip it apart." He's loath to use the word "vegan"--he believes it conjures images of people he doesn't respect--but that's the diet he espouses as the best way to care for our planet and our personal health. In addition, he explains how to interpret product barcodes to monitor the presence of GMOs or pesticides in our food and offers a quick way to check the pH levels of your blood (and fix imbalances with dietary adjustments).
Joseph also includes mental toughness tips, a 30-day workout from Aaron Drogoszewski (trainer to professional athletes), 30 days of plant-based recipes and an appendix intended to provide "peace of mind that... the food on my plate is not destroying the planet's ecosystem in some way or contributing to the torture of some poor creature." While one may question whether a punk musician has credibility as a nutritional guru, Joseph's personal experience and passion are convincing. Some readers may find his tone offensive, but others who might not otherwise consider a vegan lifestyle may be seduced. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics
Discover: A hardcore musician offers a "no-holds-barred, New York-style beat-down on real health and real nutrition."
Children's & Young Adult
B Is for Box
by David A. Carter
After teaching the very young about "high and low" and "near and far" in The Happy Little Yellow Box: A Book of Opposites, which marked the debut of the star of this series, the Happy Little Yellow Box, David Carter now takes youngest readers from A to Z.
Once again, the predominantly black-and-white palette emulates a chalkboard, thick white lines on a black backdrop, making the high contrast easy for youngest eyes to decipher. The golden box and a touch of red here and there draw readers' attention where it needs to be. Each letter gets an uppercase and lowercase treatment. "Aa is for an apple and 5 ants," the book begins; the stem of the apple curves toward the quintet of insects. "Bb" is, of course, for box, "The Happy Little Yellow Box!," which pops up from the middle of the first two-page spread. Next is a caterpillar crawling, and then Dd introduces the first of the interactive elements: "a dog behind a door." When children discover the door (on the yellow box), they open it to find the promised pooch. At least one interactive element appears on every spread, including flaps, pull tabs (a standout: when the Happy Little Yellow Box takes a "joyful jump" for Jj), and even a rotating wheel that makes a meteor appear over the moon.
David Carter takes no shortcuts for Zz. "Zoom goes the Happy Little Yellow Box," and a pull tab sends the yellow fellow skyward, as if sailing out of the book and into--we hope--the next adventure. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
Discover: An interactive alphabet book starring the Happy Little Yellow Box, from brilliant author-artist and paper engineer David Carter.
The Vanishing Season
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
As she did with a Georgia peach orchard for her debut, Peaches (and its companions), Jody Lynn Anderson captivatingly depicts the dynamics of a small town, this time on the banks of Lake Michigan after the tourists leave and the cold weather sets in.
The author also captures the economic disparity among three teens: wealthy, beautiful Pauline Boden; outcast Liam Witte, whose father runs an automotive repair shop and touts his atheistic views in a town of believers; and newcomer Maggie Larsen. Maggie and her family move from Chicago to her uncle's "ramshackle" house in Gill Creek, Wis., after her parents fall on hard times. Free-spirited Pauline seems refreshingly unaware of her stunning beauty and gloms onto brainy, determined Maggie, with plans to attend Northwestern. Pauline introduces Maggie to Liam, whom she's known since age five. Maggie instantly sees that Liam is in love with Pauline, yet Pauline keeps their relationship platonic. Maggie develops feelings for Liam, and readers will suspect there's trouble ahead for this triangle. Meanwhile, beautiful teenage girls turn up dead in the water, one after another, and a ghostly voice steps in intermittently to speak of the land and its people, past and present.
Anderson crafts a psychological thriller more than a detective story, and nothing wraps up neatly. Instead, the author explores the unusual kind of haunting that happens in a town where the lore becomes the fabric of their daily lives. Maggie's feelings of isolation, Pauline's sense of being trapped, and the claustrophobia of Gill Creek all play a role in this tragedy. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
Discover: A haunting psychological thriller set in a small tourist town on the banks of Lake Michigan, from the author of Peaches.
Parenting & Family
Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age
by Jason Boog
Making parenting choices has never been easy, but in the digital era, the dilemmas seem both more numerous and more difficult. Among the questions modern parents face is how to instill a love of literacy and learning in children in the age of mobile devices. Jason Boog--a journalist and former lead editor of Mediabistro's publishing news site GalleyCat--interviewed librarians, educators, child-development experts and children's book authors in a quest for answers; the result is this playbook for using traditional picture books and new digital media side by side to foster a lifelong enjoyment of reading starting at birth.
Boog bases his instructions on well-known research that indicates children whose caregivers employ interactive reading methods enjoy benefits such as raised IQs and greater school readiness. Boog delineates these techniques--including conversation and simple dramatization--in chapters geared toward the first few years of a child's life, through kindergarten. Balancing anecdotes from his experience with his daughter, Olive, with advice and opinions from experts, Boog offers strategies to expand an existing fascination with books or draw in a reluctant pre-reader. He also provides convenient lists of great children's titles, some of which he combines with companion activity suggestions in "Born Reading Bundles."
The introduction of digital media to children comes with two major questions: How early and how much? Boog suggests adhering to current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines but also illuminates how to introduce digital media into a child's life in stimulating, nonharmful ways, rounding out this useful guide for any new parent or caregiver. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Discover: A timely and needed guide to fostering book love in young children.
Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78 rpm Records
by Amanda Petrusich
In her quest to understand the obsessive collectors of pre-war blues 78 rpm records, music critic Amanda Petrusich (It Still Moves) became one herself, finding meaning in the often-fruitless search for these scarce, fragile artifacts of an earlier age. She visits and befriends a few of these quirky collectors; some are cantankerous, others are helpful, still others have only a veneer of social skill. They're all initially wary of her, each testing her knowledge and willingness to acknowledge their superior understanding of the hobby.
One friendly collector introduces her to several of his compatriots: all male and single-mindedly meticulous. In one chapter, she analyzes the potential of collectors to have some sort of OCD or autistic tendencies--each man, she asserts, collects these rarities to protect against the loss of self, or perhaps as a way to impose order on an unordered universe. Some collectors are in it for the music. Others are in it for the recognition. Some of these men haven't listened to a modern recording since the 1970s.
A fan of the music, Petrusich soon became a fan of the dedicated hobbyists, too, though she felt out of place in this male-dominated mini society. Eventually, she found herself in scuba gear, searching the gritty waters of the Mississippi River to find discarded albums, once thrown like Frisbees by record studio employees.
Why and how these men collect their records is as interesting as the story of the music on the discs; Petrusich ably humanizes these characters while charting the course of a section of music history. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor
Discover: This book is about the men who meticulously collect pre-war vinyl and a music journalist who's not afraid to become a bit obsessive herself.