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“The desert, like the past, can be a thorny and sometimes serpentine place for people to live; in the interweaving stories throughout Desert Boys, debut author Chris McCormick offers a stirring examination of those who live, leave, and—in the case of protagonist Daley Kushner—return. With McCormick’s smart, witty prose and equally gratifying storytelling, we are offered a refreshing, nuanced, and much more complicated take on the stereotypical male coming-of-age tale. It is an unforgettable kaleidoscope of not just childhood friendship and the small-town American West, but, seemingly, anyone’s nostalgic, binary star quandary of simultaneously loathing and longing for the past. Desert Boys is an unforgettable, startling debut by the talented and skilled McCormick — one that will surely gain him a loyal and career-long mainstream following. It will resonate with those who have sought identity in far-away places, only to find it lurking in one’s own rattlesnake-filled childhood backyard.”
My best friend was once an uchideshi: a live-in student who trains and assists a sensei 24/7. He tried to dive to the heart of zen. He would embark on weekend-long meditation sessions and describe that feeling as suddenly realizing everything was vibrant, connected, in the moment. A Tale for the Time Being doesn't necessarily dive to the heart of zen, but it did make me feel more connected, more in the moment. This book is easily one of my favorite books I've read. There is some magical realism, some zen undercurrents, but mostly, it is about learning to be happy in the here and in the now, learning how to find home. A delightful read.
“Heat & Light does for the natural gas small-town communities in Pennsylvania what The Wire did for the drug communities in Baltimore: It peels back the layers of a multi-faceted, oft-forgotten world, a world whose controversial bloom extends much farther in scope than just the Pennsylvania border. One of the most well-balanced and well-crafted books of the year, Heat & Light is a powerful, humanizing examination of these natural gas communities and the relatable characters who struggle with their version of the “lottery ticket curse”; I’d not be surprised if this novel proves to be Jennifer Haigh’s mainstream breakthrough.”
I love this tiny little book about new motherhood. Though I am not a new mother, this book made me laugh, tear up, then laugh some more. It's a great book for the new mother who is also very well-read; funny, tender, addictive, and surprising, I loved Little Labors.
This book not only teaches us about our own backyards, but how to see them. How to interact with them. How to appreciate them. When Aldo Leopold, one of the pioneers of conservation, takes a walk in the woods, it's an adventure with infinite storylines and observations. A fallen tree is not just some broken wood with growth lines, but a one-hundred year-old diary that Leopold dissects and analyzes. Reading this book taught me to look closer, dig deeper, and view my own backyard with an increased awareness and appreciation. A must read for any Midwesterner who takes walks outside.
If you've never read Murakami, start here. A complex, propelling tale involving magical realism and surreal, dream-like scenes, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle reminds me of a literary version of a Charlie Kaufman movie. Read this with a friend. You'll want to discuss the metaphors, the meanings, the themes. Most of all, though, this is a gateway book that leads to more Murakami, one of this store's favorite authors.