Friday, October 02, 2009

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books

I think I'm a little overdue in sharing with you some of the new books I've learned about and added to my wish list.

How do the rest of you find out about new books? Besides keeping an eye on all my favorite book blogs, two of my email subscriptions are oftentimes worth their weight in gold. Which two email subscriptions am I talking about?

For a mystery lover like me, a subscription to the Poisoned Pen Enews is a must. Many independent booksellers online have newsletters you can subscribe to, so it certainly wouldn't hurt to take a look at the websites of your favorite bookstores.

Another way I learn about new book releases is by subscribing to Paperback Swap's Daily Wish List email. (If you're not a member, that link may not work.) When you first subscribe, you choose your favorite genres, and then every day you're notified of the books other members have put on their wish lists.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep informed of new book releases?

Anyway... clicking on the book covers will take you to more detailed descriptions at Amazon. Here are some of the latest books that have caught my eye:

McCaffrey, Vincent. Hound (Small Beer Press $25). The owner of Boston’s legendary Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop for 30 years till it closed conveys his love of books and literary Boston. Bibliophile Henry Sullivan, who leads a lonely life immersed in and pursuing rare books, gets a visit from the cops when Morgan Johnson, the widow of a renowned literary agent—and Sullivan’s former lover—is found strangled after Sullivan visits. Morgan had retained him to appraise the book collection that she was planning to donate to Boston University. Her dead husband’s relatives, each with a financial motive to have done her in, form a small circle of logical suspects. Meanwhile, the reappearance of an old girlfriend forces Sullivan to consider another missed opportunity at happiness.

Schell, Adam. Tomato Rhapsody (Delacorte $24). It’s late August, 16th Century Tuscany, where lust, love, and the tomato combine in an “almost true tale,” an unlikely romance between the young Ebreo Davido, a tomato farmer and only grandson of Nonno, once a high money man to Ferdinand and Isabella and a voyager with Columbus (Colombo, a man from Tuscany), and the lovely Catholic Mari, daughter of an invalid mother and a villainous stepfather. Crucial to the story is the role of the Meducci, here Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and of the Good Padre, a gigantic newcomer with skin like a ripe eggplant who is newly arrived to replace the bigoted and elderly former priest. Nonno has brought a colony of Ebrei out of the ghetto in Florence to farm, incurring envy and evil deeds. All this—plus tomato sauce, and pizza, have yet to be discovered! Great fun, good history, nice word play, a kind of Shakespearean approach to story.

Barron, Stephanie. White Garden a Novel of Virginia Woolf (Bantam $15). Three weeks elapsed between the March day of 1941 when Virginia Woolf went into the river and the day her body emerged. Now, six decades later, landscape designer Jo Bellamy has come to Sissinghurst Castle to study the celebrated White Garden created by Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West and to come to grips with her grandfather’s unexplained
suicide. In the castle’s shadow, Jo makes a shocking find: Woolf’s last diary, its first entry dated the day after she allegedly killed herself.

Boyd, William. Ordinary Thunderstorms (Bloomsbury $42). Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in London for a job interview one sparkling afternoon, ambles along the Embankment and comes across a little Italian bistro down a leafy side street. During his meal speaks to a solitary diner at the next table, who soon departs. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents. Adam will lose everything: home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, mobile phone, never to get them back. The police mount a search. A reward is posted. A hired killer is stalking him. So he goes underground to discover what happened. It will take him all along the River Thames, from affluent Chelsea to the sink estates of the East End in this “heart-in-mouth conspiracy story” from one terrific writer.

Doctorow, E L. Homer and Langley (Random $28). The eccentric brothers Homer and Langley Collyer made headlines all over the world when their four story Harlem brownstone was excavated after their deaths. What the authorities found was a astonishing: the place was packed floor to ceiling with stuff, shifting piles of newspaper, several pianos, and assorted junk collected over several decades. The hoarding brothers became culturally synonymous with obsessive compulsive disorder. Doctorow does a tremendous job of bringing these misunderstood oddballs to life. The arc of the Collyer brothers lives ran from the late Victorian period to after World War II, and we see a drastically changing world from the vantage point of these vigorously intellectual hermits.


  1. Hound and The White Garden sound like a must! I would love to read both of them, probably because they both deal with literary world in a way.

    Surprisingly, I do not keep up with new releases as much as I used to when I worked for Borders. I think I still am trying to forget anything that has to do with that store :O.
    I do get Shelf Awareness though and a lot of times there are some notice worthy books there.

  2. I want Tomato Rhapsody and Homer and Langley too! My favorite place to discover new books is blogs, but I also find them on publishers web sites, on Twitter, in bookstores and from friends.

  3. You've found a nice selection of books there. I had no idea that PBS had a newsletter. Thanks for letting me know. I usually get my wish list filled from fellow bloggers although Amazon does a nice job for me with their recommendations. Out of your list I'd like the Tomato Rhapsody book, too.

  4. Thanks for the info on Paperback Swap (the source of most of my books). I didn't know about that! I don't know if I should take advantage of this or just read what I already have!!!

  5. Hound sounds great to me mainly for the setting. Even though I have been out of New England for 10 years, I still love to read books set there.


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