A visit to The Book Shop in Ball Square has become part of the weekend routine with my dog, Barbecue. We take a circuitous route through the neighborhood streets, stop by True Grounds for a tea and a dog biscuit, and then pop by The Book Shop to peruse the books and have a chat with Gil.
Now how's shopping at Amazon going to measure up to that? The Amazon login page doesn't say hi to my dog, ask me how I'm doing, or tell me anything interesting about my neighborhood.
Some of my recent reads:
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
I'd mostly given up on the fantasy genre. After hearing so much about Martin I figured I'd give A Game of Thrones a try, but decided I'd give one of his other (shorter!) books a try first, so I plunked down my $3 for Windhaven, a book Martin co-authored with Lisa Tuttle. Aha! Windhaven was a fresh story, and convinced me to pick up A Game of Thrones, which then set me on a weeks-long bender gobbling up the rest of the series.
You can read endless reviews of Martin's books online. Mine is brief: Finally, a reason to read fantasy again!
No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy
"There is no description of a fool, he said, that you fail to satisfy."
The Coen Brothers movie is a faithful adaptation of the book, but Sheriff Bell's interior monologue is reason enough to read the book. Having the faces of the actors etched in your mind is no problem; McCarthy's terse prose stands out its own. (How does he accomplish so much in just ten or twelve words?)
Beyond This Horizon
by Robert Heinlein
This 1960 edition of a 40's story was written before Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. It's rough and the characters are flat, but you can just about taste the flavor of post-War sci fi wafting from the book.
None of these were planned purchases, but I like to walk into the store with a few authors in mind rather than specific titles. Whose next? McCarthy again? (Probably.) Zelazny? Maybe a random pick from the mystery section (or a non-randomly chosen book by Carl Hiaasen)?
Maybe I'll y'all in The Book Shop some weekend morning. I'd like to know what you're reading.
by Benjamin Kunkel
First novels are a risk for the reader and for the author. Will the story be sidelined by the author's delight in every punning name, every precocious observation squeezed into the story?
A week ago I was stuck without a plan what to read next, so I semi-randomly grabbed a book from a shelf in the Fiction section. The title was fitting: Indecision.
The narrator, Dwight Wilmerding, is ten years out of prep school and stuck in limbo: he works at a call center, lives in a bachelor pad with old school friends, and isn't quite sure whether he has a girlfriend (or wants one). He has no prospects, no direction, no motivation.
"Once you decide you're only an animal, how do you keep from becoming a vegetable?"
A friend offers him a pill that can cure indecisiveness. There's your story: pills, expectations, rash decisions, non-decisions, a quest for love, and (why not?) a bit of Equador. It's a fitting story for a young adult who feels more young and unformed than adult.
For a first novel that'll keep you engaged, I would recommend
A Fraction of the Whole
by Steve Toltz
a copy of which I've seen at The Book Shop recently. Toltz's book also has marks of the first-time novel, but the author's greater risk means a more engaging read.
If you like snarky humor, and if you like to laugh at or with New England prep school graduates, then you might want to pick up Indecision, which I may return to the Shop for a bit of credit.
by Lawrence Block
These are three books I just sold to Gil today (along with Indecision, mentioned in the previous comment). Readers who enjoy thrillers with a comedic twist should give them a try.
The series features Keller, a hit man who will take time away from filling a contract to visit open houses in the suburbs and contemplate a simple life in retirement. The humor of Keller's situation carries the series: even as he continues his work as a killer for hire, he struggles to find a home life that is comfortable, even mundane. It's a typical mid-life crisis, only with more homicides and stamp collecting.
Although I don't often read mystery/suspense book, Block's book Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print inspired me to see how he put his writing recommendations into practice.
A quick visit to Block's website reveals that there's not only a fourth book in the Keller series, but a fifth on the way as well.
i like the book shop, when i go to kelly's diner i always stop by to say hi to gil, talk about books ,sometimes talk about what's going on , and new products coming in to the store, it's always nice to a great conversation with gil
sincerly david rival
The First Law trilogy - fantasy
1. The Blade Itself
2. Before They Are Hanged
3. Last Argument of Kings
by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law series mixes epic fantasy, a bit of dark comedy, and brutal realism. You might think of it as a snarkier version of Song of Ice and Fire (the Game of Thrones series). Abercrombie's story is more irreverent and also somewhat less polished than Martin's, but the First Law series has the advantage of being complete.
The first book starts off strong. I laughed out loud at one deft turn of phrase in the first chapter, but I won't spoil it by repeating it here. Abercrombie's writing is strong on several levels: characters are believable and distinctive, the action scenes are fast-paced and suspenseful, and the plot pulls you along at a good pace. Some fantasy stereotypes are simply tweaked, while others are pounded flat, minced, and then the pieces mocked.
A few reviewers have dinged the series for its fatalism, but the consensus is that the author's choices are consistent with the themes established at the start. In the Game of Thrones series, no character is safe: major characters can be maimed or killed without warning. In the First Law series, no achievement is safe: characters often find that reaching an immediate goal brings no closure.
These books are Abercrombie's first, and they're an excellent start to what we can hope will be a long career.
Here are two trilogies-to-be for which only the first and second books have been published so far. Both are critically acclaimed.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
If you ever see this book on the shelf of the Sci Fi / Fantasy section of The Book Shop, grab it! It probably won't stick around for long.
Like the First Law series from Abercrombie, Rothfuss's series about magician Kvothe is one of the few that compares favorably with Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Enough said.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Mix a bit of Americanized Harry Potter, Narnia, and a few truly horrific turns and you have this comedic urban fantasy. The smart and snappy dialogue with pop culture references keep the story moving at a good clip.
A friend of mine told me about this store. What a great find! I just bought 50 shades of grey. Wow what a sexy read. So looking forward to the next 2. I also picked up several mysteries as well.
Salon.com has an excerpt from the Dick Lehr / Gerald O'Neil book. http://www.salon.com/2013/02/24/whitey_bulger_secrets_behind_the_capture_of_the_fbis_most_wanted_man/
I just want to say thank you for the personal touch at the Book Shop. Every time I visit I get the best recommendation based on the type of book I am looking for. I really like the Book Shop!!! Thank you
The Book Shop694 BroadwaySomerville,MA