Friday, May 28, 2010
Captivity is historical fiction, but something about Maggie Fox’s story has always felt contemporary to me, and I think it’s the underlying idea of connection.
When Maggie and her sisters began communicating with spirits, coaching them to rap on the walls in code, the U.S. was in a frenzy of economic and territorial expansion. Samuel Morse’s telegraph, an obscure electrical force, seemed to suggest that the living might as easily master a “spirit telegraph,” a direct line to the dead. Antebellum Americans, like their Victorian counterparts, had seen their religious faith and ideas about the afterlife undermined by science. They were rational, progressive, and uneasy — ripe for trends like mesmerism and the attractions of the occult. The Fox sisters allowed many to trust again in the continuity of life. The movement the family inspired ultimately claimed more than a million followers.
I can’t help thinking that we’re in a place not unlike where the Victorians found themselves at the height of spiritualism. We’re devoted to advancement, in thrall to technology, and just as they seized on the diversions of table tilting, spirit writing, and ectoplasm — the mechanics of communication — we sustain perpetual connection through many and beloved gadgets.
I don’t know about you, but no matter how wired I am, no matter how often I’m texted or friended or have my blog comments commented upon, I don’t necessarily feel any closer to getting it right, to crossing the chasm to other people.
And so the means becomes the end.
But as the spiritualists might say… there is no end.
Who’s to stop us trying?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson Read by Simon Vance
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham Read by Richard Thomas
Monday, May 24, 2010
Born on March 11, 1952, Douglas Noël Adams was the author of quite a few books, a couple of computer games, some Doctor Who scripts, a bit of Monty Python, a television show or two, and a plethora of radio scripts. He was a staunch environmentalist and campaigned extensively for endangered species, writing Last Chance to See to showcase endangered animals, and even going so far as to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in a rhino suit. A technophile, Adams was a prolific e-mailer since the technology's infancy and a huge fan of Apple, even starring in some of their commercials. He wrote several articles on technology, some of which are reprinted in the posthumous The Salmon of Doubt. Douglas Adams died of a heart attack on May 11, 2001. He is sorely missed.
So grab your towel, stick out your thumbs and check out our selection of books by this really together guy.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Q: Your Riverside novels have been called “fantasy of manners” – fantasies more concerned with social relationships then with heroic quests – how did you come to write these books? Who and what were your influences?
Q: Your second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, is based on the 13th century story of True Thomas, an historical figure and basis of many legends and songs.
Obviously you did quite a bit of research; how did you choose among the legends and how did you make them your own?
Q: I’m a big fan of your radio program “Sound & Spirit”. What is the relationship between your writing and your work on “Sound & Spirit”?
Q: The Fall of the Kings was co-written with your wife, Delia Sherman. How did this process work? Do you think this collaboration distinguishes this novel from your others?
Q: I read that your first books were Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved those when I was a kid! How did your come to write those books, and how did you go from there to your other books? (And which titles did you write?)
Q: What are you up to now? Any more novels on the horizon?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali Read by the author
The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore Read by the author
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer Read by David Pittu
The Promise by Jonathan Alter Read by the author
61 Hours by Lee Child Read by Dick Hill
Storm Prey by John Sandford Read by Richard Perrone
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen Read by Hope Davis
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Primary Phase by Douglas Adams A BBC Radio Production
The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace Read by Robert Petkoff
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lee Child read by Rene Auberjonois
Last Call; The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent read by the author
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman read by the author
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron read by John Bedford Lloyd
War by Sebastian Junger read by the author
The Red Thread by Ann Hood read by Hillary Huber
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende read by S. Epatha Merkerson
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow read by Kirby Heyborne
boom by Mark Haddon read by Julian Rhind-Tutt
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar read by the author
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Since then I've checked our database every now and again to see when Brian Turner would come out with another collection. Finally, Phantom Noise came out. Phantom Noise is another brilliant collection, making the case for Brian Turner as one of America's great living poets. Like Here, Bullet, Phantom Noise deals with the war in Iraq, but this time from the home front, exploring how the war constantly forces itself into daily life. Phantom Noise also looks beyond warfare with poems like "Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon," "Lucky Money," and "Homemade Napalm," exploring events and themes of more mundane human existence. Phantom Noise is a brilliant collection and once again I'll be constantly checking the databases for the next Brian Turner collection.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller. Read by the author.
I'll Mature When I'm Dead by Dave Barry. Read by the author
The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick. Read by George Guidall
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Read by Cassandra Campbell with Bahni Turpin.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friend of the store and once-local author Ellen Kushner is an award-winning storyteller, performer, and host of NPR's Sound & Spirit.
Her Riverside novels -- Swordspoint, The Fall of the Kings (written with her wife Delia Sherman), and The Privilege of the Sword -- have been described as "fantasy of manners". Set in the rakish Riverside district of an imaginary city, these novels chart the literal and social fencing of swordsmen-for-hire in grand Regency-era style, replacing battlefields with ballrooms and epic quests with political machinations.
Kushner's second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, won both the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award in 1991. Based on the medieval ballad, it tells the story of a wandering minstrel’s time in Elfland, his romance with its queen, and his life afterward blessed by her to always tell the truth. Lyrically written, populated by achingly human characters, and adorned with riddles, poetry, and magic, it is a truly beautiful novel.
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