Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 26, is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

So find a poem you love and carry it around with you.  Leave it underneath your saucer at the coffee shop.  Give it to your bus driver.  Post it in the comments.  Spread it, share it, swap it--start a conversation with it.

Don't have a poem?  Grab a free (and adorable) micro-chapbook by Origami Poems Project from our National Poetry Month display.  You can find them all over the place!
Kim Prosise

Sunday, April 15, 2012

World Book Night 2012

Porter Square Books will be a pick up location for World Book Night!   
Book selections are also on display in the store.
Kim Prosise

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Get Obsessed!

Comedian Aaron Karo's new novel just hit shelves, and it's great.  I hadn't heard of Karo before I picked it up, but I liked this YA debut enough for his previous books to
secure slots on my reading list (Ruminations on College Life, Ruminations on Twentysomething Life, and I'm Having More Fun Than You). 

Lexapros and Cons is fast-paced, uplifting, and laugh out loud funny.  Seventeen year old Chuck Taylor with his hand sanitizer and color-coded Converse All-Stars is a sympathetic and memorable hero.  His sarcasm and self-consciousness temper even the book's few stock moments: "I have become a cartoon character.  I am literally hiding behind a bookshelf peering at Amy through an opening in the books.  I'm toeing the line between spying and stalking... I glance up at what section I'm in.  It's Women's Studies.  Even the Dewey decimal system is mocking me." 

That's probably Karo's closest call with cliche. 
For the most part, the book feels incredibly real.  From the Indian guy who talks like Jay-Z, to Chuck's parents and his psychologist, Karo's characters are consistently on point, their mannerisms and idiosyncrasies not only palpable but familiar.  And the love interest is decidedly more than just a pretty face.   

It's also full of compassion for the complex emotions that accompany mental illness in young people while remaining staunchly upbeat.  We take Chuck's problems seriously, but if Lexapros and Cons were a movie (and I'm sure it will be) it'd be PG-13 for language and acknowledging that teenage boys think about sex uncomfortably often, not for any dark content.  I love that the novel manages to capture timeless adolescent concerns in the age of Google and Adderall without preaching to or belittling those who are caught up in it.  And the clever chapter headings and snappy self-referential jacket are irresistible. 

Published by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux

Kim Prosise

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You’ve Finished Dance with Dragons

So you’ve finished A Dance with Dragons and need something new to read. Though it probably won’t be as long a wait for the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire, it still won’t be tomorrow. Here are some suggestions for books to tide you over.

The Religion by Tim Willocks. This somewhat historical novel is set during the siege of Malta where the Ottoman empire sent the largest armada in history against the Knights of Saint John the Baptist, and follows the exploits of the Saxon soldier of fortune, Mattias Tannhauser. This is sword and ax swinging action at its best, complicated by religious conflict, geopolitics, and romantic betrayal.

The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson. I believe this is the best adventure novel ever written. This Viking saga is the tale of Red Orm, from when he is kidnapped from his small coastal village, until he returns home as a powerful and wealthy lord. He rows a slave ship for an Arabian Caliph. He raids Irish villages and attacks all the way to the heart of England. He even gets so far East, his party comes in contact with Genghis Khan. Along with the battles and high seas adventure you expect from anything involving Vikings, Bengtsson sets the adventure in the time when Christianity was just beginning to reach the Viking cultures. A monk eventually falls in with Red Orm, and (somewhat reluctantly) becomes Orm’s official missionary. In wonderfully subtle ways, Bengtsson captures the process of understanding a totally foreign belief system. For example, the first step in Orm’s semi-conversion is when he decides to give this Jesus guy a try and has his men pray to him before a battle. They win and add Jesus to the list of other gods they invoke before heading off to kill people in bunches. I lent my first copy to my father, and he quite politely informed me that there was absolutely no way he was going to part with it. So I bought another to have on my shelves.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Brandon Sanderson is probably best known as being the writer trusted with finishing Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series, but he writes his own sci-fi and fantasy as well. The Way of Kings has a bit more sorcery than Song of Fire and Ice, and all the politics, intrigue, and adventure. Following a surgeon’s son who ends up at the lowest rung of slave society, a young noble woman in a desperate plot to save her family, and one of the high princes of the realm, this massive, opening book promises a complex story, with compelling characters, in a richly textured and fantastic world.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. Though most famous for his horror novels, many believe his fantasy epic The Dark Tower is Stephen King’s best work. At 19, King decided he wanted to write something like the Lord of the Rings. Chiefly inspired by the Robert Browning poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” and drawing from the spaghetti westerns, he published the seven books and one short story in the series over the course of 22 years. It’s the story of Roland Deschain, the last of the gunslingers and his quest to find the Dark Tower.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Support Independent eBooks

Like independent bookstores, small and independent publishers are vital to our literary culture. They take risks on new authors, fill niches, and produce and sustain the diversity of voices that enriches American society. Often, these publishers are so small, they don’t have the resources to distribute their books so they find larger distributors or join together to make sure their books get into stores.

Independent Publishers Group was founded in 1971, the first organization specifically created for the purpose of representing titles from independent presses to the book trade. Recently IPG has been in the news because of its conflict with Amazon. Though we don’t know the exact terms of the conflict, Curt Matthews, chief executive of IPG, in a post argued that the small publishers could not have stayed in business under the terms Amazon offered. (And while you’re on the IPG blog, read through some of the other posts. They are great insights into publishing.) In response to their inability to reach an agreement, Amazon removed all of IPG’s titles from its Kindle store. That’s 4,443 titles that can no longer be purchased for the Kindle.

We need small, independent publishers, in the same way we need small independent bookstores, so we are highlighting ten ebooks from IPG publishers on our homepage for the month of April. Fiction, history, spirituality, sci fi and more. Independently published titles, that, at least at the moment, are not available in ebook form on Amazon. Click here for the full list.

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