Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dig This Best of Boston Award

Porter Square Books has been nominated for a 2010 Dig This Best of Boston award for Best New Books Bookstore. Click here to take the survey and vote for us.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Reads

With Halloween just over the next tombstone, there are a few newly published books that are worthy of attention:

The Book of the Living Dead -- edited by John Richard Stephens.
This fascinating collection of horror stories contains works by such masters as Poe, Lovecraft, Goethe, and Mary Shelley. But the real worth of this collection are the unexpected stories by writers such as Mark Twain, Jack London, Sir Walter Scott, and Alexander Pushkin. There is even a news piece by the Evening Telegram entitled "the Corpse that Ran Away". This book is great fun and full of creepy classics and shocking surprises.

Handling the Undead -- John Ajvide Lindqvist
After the success of his vampire novel, Let the Right One In, Swedish author Lindqvist applies the same psychological scrutiny to zombies. Following a string of unusual events in the city of Stockholm, the newly dead have begun to rise. But these are not faceless hordes but loved ones taken and now horribly returned. A beautiful, haunting book, Handling the Undead is not so much about the zombies as those who mourned them.

Dead City -- Joe McKinney
Of course, maybe you prefer your zombies with less depth and more gore. In which case you should check out Dead City. Reeling from an incredible five hurricanes in three weeks the Texas Gulf Coast suddenly finds itself awash not just in dead bodies but undead bodies! Yes, along with sewage and FEMA trailers these storms bring a mysterious zombie plague and it's up to one San Antonio cop to save the day. Packed with suspense, violence, and bloody mayhem, Dead City is a solid entry into the ever-growing horde of zombie novels.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Google Editions and Porter Square Books

This summer Google and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) announced a partnership to distribute Google Editions through independent bookstore websites. Google Editions is Google’s foray into eBooks and many ABA members, including Porter Square Books, will be selling Google Editions eBooks from our websites when the service is launched.

Google Editions eBooks can be read on any device that connects to the Internet either through a browser or an app. This means that you could read eBooks purchased from Porter Square Books or your local independent bookstore on an Ipad, Iphone or other smart phone, tablet, laptop computer, desktop computer, or even other dedicated digital reading devices (except the Kindle). Furthermore, you’ll be able to read the same book on multiple devices. Since the file will be stored in the “cloud” or rather, on Google’s servers instead of on your device, you’ll be able to access it from anywhere and Google will recognize the device you are using and format the book to fit the device. This means that you could start reading the book on your laptop and continue it on your iPhone.

If you’re interested in trying digital reading, Google Editions will be a great opportunity because, not only will you not have to buy anything, you also won’t need to download any other programs. So you can support your local independent bookstore and give digital reading a try. Here is more information about the launch of Google Editions. And for more information about ereading in general visit our Ebooks Resources page.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Audio Week of October 4th

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo read by Juliet Stevenson

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi read by Teri Hatcher

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris read by the author

Painted Ladies by Robert Parker read by Joe Mantegna

At Home by Bill Bryson read by the author

The False Friend by Myla Goldberg read by the author

Dewey by Vicki Myron read by Susan McInerney

Oogy by Larry Levin read by Joe Barrett

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow read by Scott Brick


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Long Attention Span is Not Dead

Bound up in the debates and discussions around digital reading and the more general effects of media on the reading experience (Hi, Philip Roth!) is the idea of attention span. Of course, I have no doubt that attention spans have been shrinking in the last few decades (and I would argue TV already did the most damage and texting, twittering, and other small bite social media are just exploiting and exacerbating the new human attention) but this hasn't stopped some authors from churning out huge books. The Millions posted an article a few weeks ago that deals more thoroughly with this topic but I just wanted to highlight two big books on our shelves now that might be worth your attention.

The biggest of the big is The Instructions by Adam Levin. A 1,030 page behemoth is described thusly by the publishers: "Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending, four days and nine hundred pages later, with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: lover, fighter, scholar, and potential messiah. Expelled from multiple Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and back-talk, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of the Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity."

I'm currently reading and loving Witz by Joshua Cohen, an ambitious, funny, dangerous, linguistically playful intellectually dense 817 pages about a mysterious plague that wipes out all of the Jews on Christmas Eve 1999 (though I'm almost 150 pages in and have only sort of encountered the plague) with the exception of first born males. What happens, though, is far less important than how it is told, and Witz has the narrative ambition of Joyce's Ulysses.

And if you're looking for a door stop vetted by time there are a few classics in the genre; Infinite Jest, Underworld, Gravity's Rainbow, and the doorstop to end all doorstops the seven volume In Search of Lost Time (or Remembrance of Things Past).

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