And yet more books! Fiction & nonfiction, just in time for the holidays…

Now to the fiction & nonfiction we just received that have me particularly delighted!

THE ART OF ASKING by Amanda Palmer.
Bestselling author, musician, performance artist—and TED talker. Amanda Palmer asked her base online followers to help fund an independently produced album via Kickstarter, and ended up making history with a million-dollar-plus funding and write-ups in every major magazine and newspaper, plus her TED talk about how and why opening yourself to just ask is so very fundamentally important. And hard, hard, hard to do. I’ve been there myself: this book hits on what I’ve learned, myself, over the last decade plus, and yes, opening yourself to asking help from others, even strangers (perhaps importantly from strangers!), is what we all need to do at times.

art of asking

I totally forgot to include this in with our YA books, but frankly, putting this in with the regular fiction is just as good. Because I read it twice in pre-publication copy. Grayson is a boy who likes girl things: scarves, grace, dancing, skirts. He’s in junior high, and like everyone in jr high, he doesn’t know who or what he is. But it seems to bother him less than it should, because what he’s utterly obsessed with is trying out for (and then playing the role of) Persephone in the school play. He’s a natural at it. And he does get the role.

The book isn’t necessarily about gender issues: it’s about who we are at our most fundamental centers—and how we figure that out, and how we deal with people who can’t deal with who we figure out we are. The book doesn’t make sweeping conclusions, neither does it make judgements against either Grayson or his naysayers; instead it leaves the reader to see what they want to see, think what they want to think.

The characters are three-dimensional and complicated—I reread the book because it was so very complex I needed to see Grayson’s development at least a second time. I may even read it a third time.

Gracefully grayson

LOCK IN, by John Scalzi
From Tor Books:
“Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four per cent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

New technologies emerge to help those who suffer from the condition—a virtual reality network and a system of “riding” in the bodies of other individuals—which are quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse…?”

Note: This book is in development for a series by LegendaryTV.

This book had me at “it’s by Bruce Cameron,” who wrote A Dog’s Journey.

From the jacket: “Ruddy McCann, former college football star, has experienced a seismic drop in popularity; he is now Kalkaska, Michigan’s full-time repo man and part-time bar bouncer. His best friend is his low-energy Basset hound Jake, with whom he shares a simple life of stealing cars.

Simple, that is, until Ruddy starts hearing a voice in his head.

The voice introduces himself as Alan Lottner, a dead realtor. Ruddy isn’t sure if Alan is real, or if he’s losing his mind. To complicate matters, it turns out Katie, the girl he’s fallen for, is Alan’s daughter.

When Alan demands Ruddy find his murderers, Ruddy decides a voice in your head seeking vengeance is best ignored. When Alan also demands he clean up his act, and apartment, Ruddy tells him to back off, but where can a voice in your head go?”

I’m betting this is going to be hysterically funny plus a hell of a great ride as far as mysteries go. I have one copy in the store right now — come and get it before someone else does!

Midnight plan of the repo mna

NOT MY FATHER’S SON, by Alan Cumming
This stunning autobiography by award-winning UK actor Alan Cumming is heartwrenchingly wonderful. I can’t recommend it more highly. I have one copy in the store right now and you must, must read it. I’ll keep ordering it in as long as people want a copy!

From the jacket:
“In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

A beloved star of stage, television, and film, Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.
When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.”

REVIVAL, by Stephen King
King’s latest book, not surprisingly set in New England, spans decades and covers religion, terror, family, and darkness in equal measure. I won’t give it away—it’s a good one!

A great present for the holidays, this hardcover is a real keeper for King fans. Come and get them while they last!


LEAVING TIME, by Jodi Picoult
Our own local Jodi Picoult’s latest—

From the jacket:
“For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish.”

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