Tag: Recommendation List

Ellen’s Bodacious Beach Reads 2017

So I shall be going to the beach next week, and next week can’t come soon enough. Now, being of the pale skin variety (i.e. I look like I’ve been dead for two weeks because I’m so pale), I tend not to actually sit on the actual beach all that much. I just want to sit on the balcony, smell the ocean, smoke many packs of cigarettes, and read…A LOT OF BOOKS. So, for several weeks, I have been thinking about which books I would be taking to the beach to read. This has been difficult for me, because I have several hundreds of books on my TBR (to be read) list. I have finally narrowed down the list. Hallelujah!!! So let’s do this!

made for loveThe first book on my list is the new novel from Alissa Nutting, Made for Love. People: this book’s cover is of the air-brushed persuasion. If that is not enough to get your engines started, let me break this novel’s story down for you: Hazel has just left her tech billionaire husband, who has also his sights set on world domination. Things have been weird in their marriage for years, but the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back is when Byron wants to insert a chip in his and Hazel’s brain in order to achieve the first mind meld in history. pinky ru ponderingHer only option is to seek refuge in her father’s home that is in a retirement trailer park. Did I mention that her widower father has just purchased a brand new lifelike sex doll named Diane? Hazel’s father’s hope is that in his last years he will die doing something that he loves; obviously, that thing is having sex with Diane. “Hazel began to look at the five-foot four-inch silicone princess a little differently now: Penthouse pet from waist up, Dr. Kevorkian from the waste down.” If this little bit I’ve just shared does not convince you to buy this book, then we do not share the same sick sense of humor…and that is totally your choice. Albeit the wrong one, but I digress.

goodbye vitaminNumber two is Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. Ruth, freshly disengaged from her fiance, is summoned home to help care for her father Howard, a once prominent history professor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has bouts of lucidity. When Ruth arrives home, she finds the situation much more serious than she had anticipated. When the university does finally sack Howard, Ruth and a handsome ex-student of Howard’s go a little too far in the name of justice. Over the course of a year, the comedy in Ruth’s situation becomes apparent and it gently transforms her grief. Honestly, I am eager to read anything about a thirty-something woman who is not exactly where she would like to be in her life. Perhaps I relate. HAHAHAHA.

watch me disappearWatch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown is coming in hot at number three on the list. This novel is about Billie Flanagan, who went missing a year earlier in Desolation Wilderness (which does not sound like an optimal location to go on a solo hike, but that is what she does). Her body is never found, but a shattered cell phone is recovered. Billie left behind a husband and a teenage daughter. Both of the survivors in this story deal with the loss of Billie in equally unhealthy ways. However, things get seemingly extra unhealthy when Olive, the daughter, starts having visions of Billie…alive. Jonathan, Billie’s husband, is very concerned for Olive’s emotional stability when this all begins, but as he uncovers secrets from Billie’s past, he wonders if he ever knew her at all. So, of course Olive and Jonathan unite in a quest to figure out the truth about Billie’s past and her disappearance. The tagline to this book is “Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.” (cue ominous mood music)

white furNumber four is White Fur by Jardine Libaire. The title of this novel is taken from the white rabbit fur coat the female protagonist always wears. Another great novel tagline is coming your way: “A stunning, star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City.” COUNT. ME. IN. I mean, this novel has absolutely all the things I care about: star-crossed lovers? YES. 1980s New York City? OH YOU KNOW IT! And a female protagonist who is from the wrong side of the tracks and falls in love with a WASP? I’M STARTING TO GET SHORT OF BREATH! HELP ME! So, I have already read the first few pages and it opens in a seedy motel room with Elise, our girl, sitting on the bed with a rifle pointed at Jamie, her guy. All I can think of is, how did it get to this point? My book club is actually reading this book for July and I have already heard wonderful things from some of the members.

meddling kidsLast but not least is number five on the list, Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. Essentially, this book is about the Mystery Inc. gang all grown up, and it ain’t pretty, people. In this novel, the gang is known as “The Blyton Summer Detective Club.” Blyton Hills is a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley. In 1977, the gang solved their last mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster. So the story itself starts in 1990 after all of the former detectives have grown up and apart. Everyone is haunted by the disturbing memories of their final night on the case. To give you a sense of how everyone’s lives have turned out up to this point, I’ll explain everyone’s current sitch. Andy, who was the intrepid tomboy, is now wanted in two states and is tired of running from her demons. Kerri is the once kid genius who is drinking away her life in New York City with a Weimaraner named Tim who is a descendant of the original canine in the gang. Then there is Nate, who is a horror-loving nerd that is currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the gang leader, who was a star jock-turned-actor. This would be totally normal…if Peter were not dead, which he has been for years. So everyone is going to get the gang back together and face their fears about what happened all those years ago! I mean honestly I might start my beach trip off with this book because it sounds like too much damn fun.

So that’s what I’ll be doing for a week. I hope everyone’s week next week is as fun as mine!

Hunter recommends 3 science fiction classics

Today, it would be difficult to find a movie or television show that does not incorporate some kind of science fiction element. Inspired by this, many people now seek to experience the genre at its source: books. However, with such an overwhelming number of classic science fiction books, where should someone start? This is a question that customers have asked me before, and here is my answer: Here are three books that you can find on our shelves that I think are perfect examples of classic science fiction.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

childhoods endTo those who have heard his name, Arthur C. Clarke is most well-known as the co-creator of the book and subsequent film 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, his influence does not stop at cinema. Clarke’s theories in his books about satellites and orbits actually came to fruition in reality, so much so that a geosynchronous orbit used by telecommunications satellites is named after him (The Clarke Belt). My personal favorite work of his is Childhood’s End, a story of mankind’s first encounter with extraterrestrials and the effects that span hundreds of years. The story begins with a simple premise: massive alien ships suddenly appear on Earth, hovering over major cities, doing nothing. It’s an iconic enough image to spawn several copycat stories and films, which I will not list here. Where it goes from there is a bit strange, but I won’t spoil it.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick

do androids dream of electric sheepThere has been a lot of debate as to which author is truly the quintessential sci-fiauthor, and nearly every one comes to the same conclusion. Philip K. Dick made massive contributions to the entire genre of Science-Fiction, molding it into what it is today. Many of PKD’s works have been adapted to film and television, though few know it. Total RecallThe Adjustment BureauMinority ReportThe Man in the High Castle, and Blade Runner are all based on his works. Because of this, many people are more familiar with his stories than they realize. My favorite work of his is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was the basis for the film Blade Runner. It is a detective story at it’s heart, the story of Rick Deckard, a “Blade Runner,” a detective who specializes in identifying and decommissioning rogue androids. It’s an interesting take on the classic mystery novel, and I love it.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

ult hitchhikers guide galaxyDouglas Adams was, for the most part, a humorist in the vein of Mark Twain, but his genre of choice was science fiction. His masterpiece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels, now published together as The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, are the best example of his sharp wit and absurdist style of Adams’ work. The opening of the book features (spoiler alert, although it is the beginning of the book) the destruction of Earth, after which Adams writes “This planet has—or rather had—a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole, it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” The book is likely the one that I have reread the most, and in my mind, it is, not only one of the funniest novels, but one of the best ever written at all.

Get Your Dad the Perfect Book for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is THIS SUNDAY. If you’re like me, then it snuck up on you. Don’t have a gift yet? Lemuria is here to help! We’ve got a book for every dad out there.

For the dad that loves thrill seeking:

Camino Island – John Grisham

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This is Grisham’s latest book, out just in time to give to your dad for Father’s Day!

No Middle Name – Lee Child

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Another recently published book, No Middle Name is a collection of Jack Reacher stories.

For the Dad whose favorite room is the kitchen:

A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen – Matt Moore

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Classic Southern recipes, with a twist!

Reel Masters – Susan Schadt

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This not only has recipes, but big fish tales, as well.

For the Dad who prefers the past over the present:

The Flight – Dan Hampton

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The story of Charles Lindbergh’s famous 1927 transatlantic flight.

Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann

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The incredible true story of the FBI’s first big case about the murders of the Osage Indians.

For the Dad who watches the big game every weekend:

Ballplayer – Chipper Jones

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Jones’ autobiography about his 19-year career as an Atlanta Brave.

The Last Season – Stuart Stevens

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A touching story about a man and his father, and the lifetime of college football games they attended.

For the Dad who seems to already have everything:

Atlas Obscura – Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton

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An encyclopedia like you’ve never seen. You can find all sorts of amazing factoids about places you’ve never heard of!

The Revenge of Analog – David Sax

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Have you ever heard your father complain about the “kids these days”? This book laments the long lost art forms of brick and mortar stores, vinyl records, etc.

If none of these strike your fancy, the folks at Lemuria have hundreds more books to recommend! We would love to help you out, and we will even wrap your book for your dad.

Polly’s April Triple YA Book Recommendation

If you’re like me, you’re trying to find the next thing to read a lot. I’m either too busy to read, binge reading while I do have time to read, or I’m in an awkward state of limbo between books. However, lately these three books have helped pull me out of my reading rut and gotten me back on track!

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

why we broke upThere aren’t many YA romance novels that compel me to go through them with a pen and a highlighter. Why We Broke Upis a rare exception. My copy of this book is so inked up and loved that I honestly feel like it’s become a treasure to me. It was written by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snickett!) and has won some very prestigious awards since its release. It’s framed as a letter written by Min to her ex-boyfriend Ed, systematically explaining each item in the box she is dropping off at his house and how it explains why they broke up. It features beautiful, vivid illustrations that tie the whole book together in a truly unique way. The gorgeous poetic style of this book made it feel more like a long song than a novel, and its portrayal of the heartbreak of young love will make you ugly-cry.

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The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

darkest cornersIt’s such a cliche to say that I couldn’t put this book down, but trust me when I say that I really do mean it when it comes to The Darkest Corners. It’s a dark, compelling mystery that follows the story of Tessa, a girl who, along with her childhood best friend Callie, was a major witness in the trial for the murder of Callie’s cousin. She returns to Fayette, Pennsylvania, for the first time in ten years to say goodbye to her dying father. However, when the Ohio River Monster strikes again, she is forced to face the question: What if her testimony put the wrong man behind bars? This book will seriously keep you guessing until the very end, and you’ll never believe the ending either.

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Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins

sometimes we tell the truthWho knew that a retelling of The Canterbury Tales could feel so modern and authentic? Emulating Chaucer is a tall order by any standard, but Kim Zarins delivers. The story takes place on a bus headed to Washington D.C. filled with rambunctious teens stuck together on a six-hour bus ride. Their civics teacher and supervisor’s solution is to come up with a story-telling competition: best story gets the winner an A in the class. The stories range from hilarious to raunchy to deadly serious, but all of them teach us something valuable about the characters. The cast is diverse and compelling, as one would have to be to make a reader relate to a 24-person cast! The story is tried and true, but Kim Zarins puts an amazing, modern spin on things to make an unforgettable read.

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Staff Nonfiction Favorites from 2016

Last month, we showed you our favorite fiction books from 2016. This time, we’re back to tell you what our favorite nonfiction books were. From Churchill to Hitler, from art to music, from the frontier to the boudoir,  our picks were all over the place, but they all have a place on your shelf in 2017. Come to the store and ask us about our favorites–we’ll tell you all about them!

  • John Evans, bookstore owner – Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard
  • Kelly, general manager – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  • Austen, operations manager – Hitler: Ascent 1889 – 1939 by Volker Ullrich
  • Lisa, first editions manager – Absolutely on Music by Haruki Murakami
  • Hillary, front desk supervisor – Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton
  • hillary-trialsFor what small amount of education she had during her life, Hamilton has created a beautifully written book about her time as a pioneer women in the Mississippi Delta.  Throughout this time in her life, she encounters a flood that completely washes away her home and the family’s logging camp, buries children, and deals with her husband’s secretive life and drinking problem. Hamilton is a fierce woman that I found absolutely fascinating.

  • Clara, Oz manager – Mad Enchantment by Ross King
  • Abbie, fiction supervisor – Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
  • Julia, First Editions Club supervisor – You Will Not Have My Hate by Antone Leiris
  • Andrew, blog supervisor – Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Ellen, bookseller – The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese
  • ellen voyeursThe Voyeur’s Motel is an amazing work of narrative journalism which I could not put down. The majority of this book is from the titular voyeur Gerald Foos’ actual journals and notes, which were extremely fascinating. Basically, Foos spent the majority of his time writing down any and everything that he watched from his voyeuristic “observation deck” and shared those thoughts with Gay Talese. Fascinating read.

  • Katie, bookseller – Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  • katie-shrillLindy West is an outspoken, confident, intriguing woman in our world today. Shrill tells the story of Lindy’s life, her accomplishments and failures, and her highs and her lows. Her story is insanely inspiring and relatable, touching on the many struggles that women are still facing today. Lindy is a role model to me and many others, and I know she could be one to you, too.

  • Jamie, bookseller – March by John Lewis
  • Matt K., bookseller – The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese
  • Alex, bookseller – The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward
  • James, bookseller – Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton
  • Diane, Oz bookseller – The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden

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Gifting the Perfect Book: Staff Fiction Favorites for 2016

Are you in a crunch for Christmas gifts?! Can’t find that perfect book for the one you love? Let our staff give you some GREAT recommendations! Here is a list of some of our FAVORITE FICTION books from the year 2016! Hurry by and we’ll wrap one for you just in time to stick under the tree!

  • John Evans, bookstore owner – Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
  • Kelly, general manager – Bright Precious Days by Jay McInerney
  • Austen, operations manager – The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • Lisa, first editions manager – Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
  • Hillary, front desk supervisor – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Clara, Oz manager – The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
  • Abbie, fiction supervisor – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • abbie-homegoing“Homegoing is  about the families of two sisters, one of whom marries a slaver, and one who is taken into slavery. It is a story that spans generations that is for every generation. You’ll fall in love with every character. Gyasi weaves together a compelling and beautiful tale. ” – Abbie

  • Julia, First Editions Club supervisor – by Graham Swift
  • julia-mothering-sundayMothering Sunday is a short and fabulous book about
    forbidden love and class division. I would read it 100 times over; it was so good. – Julia

  • Andrew, blog supervisor – The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • andrew-nixThe Nix is a spectacular debut novel about a writer searching for the truth about the mother who abandoned him, only to make headline news decades later. The tone alternates between comic and serious, and and it expertly captures the zeitgeist of both the 2010s and the 1960s. Hill does such a good job writing from multiple perspetives. – Andrew

  • Ellen, bookseller – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Katie, bookseller – Nicotine by Nell Zink
  • Jamie, bookseller – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Maggie Smith, bookseller – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Matt K., bookseller – Mischling by Affinity Konar
  • Aimee, bookseller – The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
  • Alex, bookseller – Nutshell by Ian McEwan
  • James, bookseller – El Paso by Winston Groom
  • Erica, Oz bookseller – Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Diane, Oz bookseller – Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • Polly, Oz bookseller – Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

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Nonfiction paperback picks for summer 2016

It’s that time of year. Spring is giving way to summer, school is letting out, and people are hitting the highway for vacations. It’s a perfect time to squeeze in some time for the reading that you’ve been meaning to do. I would like to recommend some nonfiction books, all out in paperback, that I think will be just the thing. They’re lightweight for packing, affordable, and hold up a lot better than your average e-reader when exposed to sand and water. So, with that in mind, let’s get to the recommendations…

CATEGORY 1: NEW IN PAPERBACK, BREEZY READING

[Both of these books were released in hardcover just last year, and they are both easy to read (and finish) books about cultural phenomena.]

Jacket (5)So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Ronson is the fey-voiced Welshman you might have heard on This American Life. He is also the author of The Pyschopath Test, among other books. Here he examines the concept of public shaming, specifically in the form of mass Twitter vigilantism. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” probably wasn’t anticipating the mass-volume payload delivery system that social media provides. Ronson thoughtfully examines the implications of a justice system that started with good intentions but is often used mercilessly against private citizens with momentary lapses of good judgment. Just keep reading past the section about Jonah Lehrer, his first case study (and not his most sympathetic).

Jacket (6)The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette

Man, the 90s were a weird time, filled with unwarranted optimism and unchecked consumerism. The story revolves on its axis of Ty Warner, the founder and CEO of the company that produced the Beanie Babies, a pretty great toy maligned in our memory by the mania that accompanied our desire to “collect them all.” The whole tale is outrageous and engaging from start to finish and a valuable reminder of the foibles of human nature.

CATEGORY 2: PAST YEAR GEMS, CRASH COURSES

[Both of these books are not quite new in paperback and are a little longer (in part because they are augmented by fascinating footnotes), but they are absorbing narrative reads to keep your mind sharp over the summer.]

Jacket (7)Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

I must admit, I have always been in love with New Orleans. And what a fantastic subtitle this book has—if that doesn’t get you interested in history, what will? This account of New Orleans from the 1890s to 1920 weaves together the narratives of red-light district “mayor” Tom Anderson, conflicted brothel madam Josie Arlington, coronet player and jazz progenitor Buddy Bolden, a mysterious ax murderer, and many more. It explains how myth and reality, culture and class divide, hospitality and violence, have always existed in the city that care ostensibly forgot. It was only by coincidence that the beating heart of this tale, the red-light district Storyville, got its name from one subsequently-embarrassed city councilman (named Sidney Story) who was just trying to segregate sin from the more respectable parts of the city. But, trust me, after reading this whole book, you could wonder how the whole city isn’t called that.

Jacket (8)The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean

I’m not sure where you have to be in your chemistry education to be in the proper range between being able to understand it and also learning new things, but if you remember chemistry okay from high school, you should be fine. From his charming first anecdote about his mother spearing mercury droplets from broken thermometers to blowing my mind with how elements are made by stars in a process called stellar nucleosynthesis, this is a clear, exciting, and engaging look at the fundamental stuff the universe is made of that doesn’t forget to give things a human touch. Ask for a second bookmark to keep a place for the many wonderful footnotes you’ll be referring to constantly.

CATEGORY 3: THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

Jacket (9)Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant

If you are reading a book blog from an independent book store in Jackson, Mississippi, I can only imagine that you might have heard of this book already. If you haven’t investigated this local literary phenomenon for yourself, I highly recommend that you do. Grant takes a probing, often hilarious, always empathetic, occasionally baffled look at life in the Mississippi delta. It’s got hunting, blues, and blood feuds mixed in with serious examinations of race, class, prisons, and education. It’s not so much that Grant discovers what native Mississippians don’t already know about our state; it’s how he elucidates the problems with a critical eye while still finding plenty of causes for celebration. It’s bound to be a Southern classic for a long time to come, and now is as good a time as any to read all about it for yourself.

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