Staff Selections

Kathleen

Retail Anarchy: A Radical Shopper's Adventures in Consumption
Sam Pocker

This is the funniest book I’ve ever read about groceries. Pocker is obsessive, outrageous, obnoxious, and he really knows his way around shopping.

Paul

A Moment In the Sun
John Sayles

The great American film-maker John Sayles has always had a deep interest in American history and his views tend to correspond with those of the late historian Howard Zinn—America as the imperial nation, land of the powerful rich and the disempowered poor, drunk on a belief in “manifest destiny”. Sayles’ new novel takes the last few years of the 19th Century, a time when America was cocksure in its sense of what it was and what it could do, and weaves a handful of fascinating stories that take a careful look at who we thought we were and who we hoped we might become, into what might be our best and most thoughtful political piece of fiction ever to have examined such history. Sayles is a novelist of rare skill who carries his intricate plot effortlessly, taking the reader around the globe tracing American greed and ambition at its most ravenous. Don’t be put off by the size of the book.

Terry

Stormdancer
Jay Kristoff

 

The first book of a trilogy set in a steampunk world based on late Edo-period Japan. There are strong characters and loads of interesting ideas in this book. I’m very curious to see how they’re developed in the future volumes.

Tim

Union Atlantic
Adam Haslett

Union Atlantic is Mr. Haslett's first novel, following his short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here, which was a finalist for both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award.  I think it's likely to be the best novel I'll read this year -- filled with characters and a plot that spoke to me about who we are as Americans today, and how we found ourselves in a culture of money, fear and isolation.  In Union Atlantic, a banker is motivated by greed and the desire to keep the astronomical debt his company carries afloat for just one more day -- regardless of the consequences; teenagers do drugs, dream of a future away from their hometown, and struggle to sculpt an identity; and a retiree stages a final hurrah of protest, rekindling the spirit of activism from her youth.  Defining the American psyche unlike any other book I've read recently, Union Atlantic seems like a Great Gatsby for the new millenium.  Highly recommended.