Monday, June 29, 2009

A book to look forward to...

Well, I'm back from my summer vacation, which now seems like quite the blur. Having set a personal record of reading 17 books in 15 days, I guess I'm not really surprised. Some of them were great pieces of literature (Cormac McCarthy, J. M. Coetzee, & Audrey Niffenegger backlist), some of them were delightful pieces of fluff (a book called Jane Eyre's Daughter, for one example). I also took along a few advance readers copies to get a head start on some later summer/early fall reading. One forthcoming book that I'm looking forward to handselling is called Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, due out in August from Delacorte Press. This deceptively sweet debut novel set in Rwanda is, much like main character Angel Tungaraza, full of hidden depths. On the surface she bakes cakes for all occasions for a cross-section of people, ranging from the wife of the US ambassador to the "baby mama" of a young man who struggles to make ends meet. Her higher calling as a generous listener, though, showcases a forgiving soul who is always ready to be burdened with other people's dark secrets, and in post-genocide Rwanda, there is no shortage of those. This is a lovingly imagined story of people who have somehow found a way to look past their neighbors' (or their own) misdeeds to find a hopeful future in Kigali. If you love Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, you're sure to enjoy this new novel, too.

~Emily Crowe

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Reads!

Warm weather has finally come! School is almost out and beach vacations are being planned. It's time to think about summer reading. While a good book can be read anytime of year, I think certain books are that much better while read in a beach chair, in the sun.

In need of some suggestions? Stop by the store because we a have plenty of new books to share.

One book, that I admittedly read before it was quite bikini weather, is the perfect summer read. Partially because the cover consists of a young man standing on a beach in awesome sunglasses, but mostly because it is incredibly well written and a wonderful story.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

Every teenager goes through that awkward phase when friends are growing up and changing, the opposite sex suddenly becomes so important, and you are constantly trying to figure out what is “cool.” Whitehead’s new novel illuminates this period of time for Benji Cooper, who is spending the summer of 1985 at his family’s home on Sag Harbor. Whitehead describes the African American enclave on the Hamptons in the time of “The Cosby Show,” the early days of Hip Hop, and “New Coke.” This is a bright, funny, semi-autobiographical story that touches on important issues of race, class, and adolescence. A literary and affectionate summer read with a large helping of humility and ice cream. ~ Vanessa