Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emma Thompson's Book Picks

I've admired Emma Thompson for quite some time, but my admiration for her grew today when I read this interview in which she is asked to list the seven books that made a difference in her life. She is thoughtful and articulate, and there are at least two books on her list that I intend to pick up for myself. It was excerpted in today's Shelf Awareness (a daily e-newsletter for the book trade), but you can find the entire list here.

Books 'Turn Up in Your Life When You Most Need Them'

"I think books are like people, in the sense that they'll turn up in your life when you most need them. After my father died, the book that sort of saved my life was Gabriel García Márquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Because of that experience, I firmly believe there are books whose greatness actually enables you to live, to do something. And sometimes, human beings need story and narrative more than they need nourishment and food."

--Actress Emma Thompson on choosing seven "books that made a difference" for O magazine.


The Annotated Pride & Prejudice or an atmospheric English novel, anybody?

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. As with many of her fans, P&P is my favorite Austen novel, one which I revisit almost every year for the sheer reading pleasure she provides. Picking up this sumptuous version, however, made me feel like I was getting an entirely new reading experience! The color plates, the annotated text, the heavy acid-free paper, and beautiful design all contrive to make this book a must-have for every Austen fan. And at $35 for a coffee-table sized format, this book really is an affordable luxury. Take a look at this gorgeous new offering from Harvard University Press/Belknap, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This lush novel interweaves three separate stories which span most of the 20th century. All of the factors for a great English mood novel are present: a castle, a family whose creative streak is matched only by its madness, three spinster sisters, a quaint village, mysterious disappearances, ancient secrets, tragic misunderstandings, and a young publisher trying to sort fact from fiction in the local lore. The stories meander at a deliberate (other readers might say slow) pace, converging all in the last chapter in a very satisfying way. This book is perfect for those readers who want to sink their teeth into an atmospheric novel that will make them want to curl up for hours with a pot o' tea. Published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster.


Monday, November 22, 2010

More radio recommendations from our time on WAMC...

ANNEXED by Sharon Dogar. This novel for teens and young adults is a familiar story told from a different perspective. Peter van Pels is only sixteen when he and his parents go into hiding with Anne Frank and her family. In love with a girl who was taken by the Nazis, at the beginning of this novel, he would much rather brood and sulk than spend time with the insufferable Anne with the impish eyes. Soon, however, time is all he has, and he is surprised to discover a kindred spirit in Anne. Their burgeoning love is full of questions and fear, and even reading The Diary of Anne Frank cannot prepare you for the heartwrenching ending. This book is a very quick and compelling read, and the two 16-year-olds in my family will tell you the same thing—they both devoured it, too.

ONE HUNDRED PORTRAITS engraved by Barry Moser, published by David R. Godine. This is a collection of portraits of writers, musicians, composers, artists, poets, and friends, all beautifully reproduced. Some of these were commissioned portraits, some of them are published here for the first time. Moser is one of the world’s pre-eminent engravers and this is the first book that amasses 100 portraits from the books and broadsides of his vast collection, spanning several decades. The production qualities are everything I’ve come to expect from David R. Godine, and I would be remiss not to mention the incredibly thought-provoking foreword that Ann Patchett provided. And sure, it just so happens that I'm married to the man, but that doesn't take one whit away from his portraits and his ability to look unflinchingly at a face (including his own) and reveal something about the person in a most astonishing way, limned in shadow. (NB: Mr. Moser will be happy to inscribe copies of his new portrait book for Odyssey customers for holiday giftgiving. Just call us at 800.540.7307 or stop by to make those arrangements!)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review: ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby

Hello all!
Long time, no chat. I'm thrilled to be guest blogging today about my love for a recently published board book.
ABC is for Circus
by Patrick Hruby
9781934429617, Ammo Books, $14.95

Whimsical. Bright. Colorful. Creative. A must-have for a baby or design library.
For those who stopped by the Odyssey Book Shop while I was Children's Department Manager there, you might have noticed my taste in design work similar to this. Board books featuring the work of Charley Harper and Dwell Studio received front-and-center placement on the board book shelves, while Bruno Munari's ABC picture book was featured on both the picture book shelf and in my own personal library. Now I can add the up-and-coming Patrick Hruby to my list of favorite designers in this vein.

While his artistic influences are clear, Hruby's illustrations in ABC is for Circus are unique, inspired, and delightfully cheerful with a mix of colors and shapes that are both riotous and carefully constructed. I love the clean, crisp geometric shapes among the bursts of color, as well as his use of color against black and white silhouettes. The subject matter is charming, too! Who wouldn't love learning "A is for Acrobats" and "B is for Big Top," but you'll also want to pay attention to "H is for Horses" as they're horses on the carousel (which, believe it or not, is not featured for the letter "C"). I think my favorite is "N is for Nighttime" because I love the switch of a colorful starry background with the Ferris Wheel silhouette layered on top.
Stop by the Odyssey Book Shop for your copy today!

To find out more about Patrick Hruby, visit his website here.
Check out ABC is for Circus at the Ammo Books website.
Befriend Patrick Hruby Illustration on Facebook.
Read a great review of his artwork in general on My Love For You Is A Stampede of Horses.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Darwin Awards, anybody?

from today's Shelf Awareness, an e-newsletter to the book trade:

Police blotters and the book trade. The Consumerist took note of the following from the Hudson Hub Times: After a local man called police to report he had seen an unidentified person leave a package at his house, the officer who investigated the incident "said he could see the package was clearly labeled with the Amazon.com logo and asked the man if he had ordered anything from the firm recently. The man reportedly said 'Why yes, I did.' The officer told the resident his order had arrived. The resident then said he was comfortable opening the box. The officer then left the scene."

Really?! Is anybody else thinking about the Darwin Awards here? Or at least an honorable mention, since his stupidity didn't actually result in his death?

Smart consumers shop Indie!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Small Presses: 'Closest Equivalent to Your Local Farmer's Market'

Small Presses: 'Closest Equivalent to Your Local Farmer's Market'

From today's Shelf Awareness. The Odyssey Bookshop couldn't agree more. While we *love* our friends at the big publishers and the books they produce, ounce for ounce, it's the small publishers doing some of the most responsible publishing in America today. Let's hear it for small presses--academic or otherwise!

Small Presses: 'Closest Equivalent to Your Local Farmer's Market'

"In the world of literary culture, the small press is probably the closest equivalent to your local farmer's market. (The carrots might look funnier, but, after you're used to it, they taste about five times better.) There are tons of small presses, spread out over the country, and they're often run at either no-profit or a loss. These are labors of love--not engaged in the production of commodities for consumption, but something closer to Lewis Hyde's notion of 'the gift.' Hand-sewn chapbooks take time to make, the poems in them take time to read, and the poets (most likely) took a lot of time to write them. Their production occurs on a smaller (and less grandiose) scale, and like the Slow Food and broader Slow Culture movement, they want to restore to us a sense of time that our current world system strips away from us. Perhaps they wouldn't want to be in the airports, even if we let them. But they can, like the local food economy (which is growing at a spectacular rate, nationally), become viable alternatives with our support."

~Emily Crowe

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter Wednesday Crafternoon

his past weekend at the Odyssey we were lucky enough to host Noel MacNeal who is on book tour for his great new book: Ten Minute Puppets.

Workman Publishing, 10.95.

This is a great book, and not just because it has 30 projects that you can make with materials found around the house, but because MacNeal is an experienced puppeteer who has worked with some of our favorite friends on public television, including Sesame Street! He even brought his friend Lionel from the PBS show Between the Lions. All in all it was a great event and we still have limited signed stock!

I definitely recommend this book for a winter crafting session. Beat the inside winter blues boredom by making some friends and then putting on your own show for family and friends. This book goes best with kids four and up!




Monday, November 8, 2010

Amy Sedaris' New Book

I am quite gleeful in announcing that Amy Sedaris has a new book out this month!

With her trademark sass, kookiness and kitsch, Amy Sedaris presents her second book after her wonderfully popular “I Like You.” Like Sedaris’ first book, it takes a tongue and cheek look at crafting with some of her own original craft projects. In this new edition of Sedaris knowledge-sharing-adventures, she takes the reader on an extended crafternoon; that includes crafting with food, shells, yarn, nuts, matches, dead bugs and so much more!

I am the first to admit that not everyone is going to understand Sedaris or know what to make of her wacky ways (see exhibit a); and while this book may not be for everyone, it is the perfect hilarious gift to give for the crafter/ prankster on your list. Just be sure to take notes before giving it away!