Mmmmm… I love the smell of new books

Posted 3 June, 2009 by DLWhite in Writers Read 0 Comments

Even if they’re digital, new books have a smell.

I love bookstores, because I love the smell of the paper that books are printed on. I love the stiffness of a new page, an uncracked binding, a smooth, unwrinkled cover. *warm fuzzies* I know book people know what I mean.

Digital books have a different feel. I use the Amazon Kindle app that works with the iPhone. I also use stanza and eReader but I mostly use the Kindle app. I love being able to drag 20 books around with me at a time. I love being able to read while waiting for the oil change, or while eating dinner (if the waitstaff will leave me ALONE. Its like a woman dining alone is the international signal for “she’s lonely, ask her how everything tastes 100 times’) or while taking a bath or—you know. That time when you’re “indisposed”. I wont admit to how many books I packed during my recent move that were in my bathroom. I like to pick up a book and open it to a random chapter and start reading. Even if I’ve read the book 100 times. I digress.

Digital books feel different. Smell different. Okay, not really but figuratively. The thing about Kindle is that there are no page numbers. So you have no idea where you are in the story. You never know when you’re almost done. Until you’re done. See, I have a bad habit of reading the ending first. And then starting at the beginning to see how the author got there. It’s a weird little game that it’s a little harder to play with Kindle. And frankly, it’s given me some great surprises– like at the end of Sharp Objects, when you figure out who’s been murdering little girls in a small podunk town. So glad I didn’t read the end!

So I said all that to say I got some new books! I’m quite excited. Every month I check out the IndieBound list of Notables and Great Reads. Last month I discovered The Help, Sharp Objects, The Last Child*, Brooklyn*, and Dark Places. Impressive list.

This month, more impressiveness:

Right of Thirst: Shattered by his wife’s death, and by his own role in it, successful cardiologist Charles Anderson volunteers to assist with earthquake relief in an impoverished Islamic country in a constant state of conflict with its neighbor. But when the refugees he’s come to help do not appear and artillery begins to fall in the distance along the border, the story takes an unexpected turn.

This haunting, resonant tour de force about one man’s desire to live a moral life offers a moving exploration of the tensions between poverty and wealth, the ethics of intervention, the deep cultural differences that divide the world, and the essential human similarities that unite it.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane: Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge. As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined. Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

Nikolski: This is a story of three characters—Noah, Joyce, and the anonymous narrator—as each leave their far-flung birthplaces to follow their own personal songs of migration. All three end up in Montreal, each on his or her voyage of selfdiscovery, each compelled to deal with the mishaps of heartbreak and the twisted branches of their shared family tree. Filled with humor, charm, and marvelous storytelling, this novel links cartography, garbage-obsessed archeologists, pirates past and present, a mysterious book with no cover, and a broken compass whose needl e obstinately points to the Aleutian village of Nikolski (a minuscule village inhabited by thirty-six people, five thousand sheep, and an indeterminate number of dogs). This is a sweet, well-told story about three characters who break free from their families in order to live authentically.

Buffalo Lockjaw: James Fitzroy isn’t doing so well. Though his old friends in Buffalo believe his life in New York City is a success, in fact he writes ridiculous taglines for a greeting card company. Now he’s coming home on Thanksgiving to visit his aging father and dying mother, and unlike other holidays, he’s not sure how this one is going to end. Buffalo Lockjaw introduces a fresh new voice in American fiction.

Trouble: Josie is a Manhattan psychotherapist living a comfortable life with her husband and daughter—until she is struck with the sudden realization that she must leave her passionless marriage. At the same time, her college friend Raquel, a Los Angeles rock star, is being pilloried in the press for sleeping with a much younger man who happens to have a pregnant girlfriend. The two friends escape to Mexico City for a Christmas holiday of retreat and rediscovery of their essential selves. Sex has gotten these two bright, complicated women into interesting trouble, and the story of their struggles to get out of that trouble is totally gripping at every turn.

A Thread of Truth: At twenty-seven, having fled an abusive marriage with little more than her kids and the clothes on her back, Ivy Peterman figures she has nowhere to go but up. Quaint, historic New Bern, Connecticut, seems as good a place as any to start fresh. With a part-time job at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop and budding friendships, Ivy feels hopeful for the first time in ages. But when a popular quilting TV show is taped at the quilt shop, Ivy’s unwitting appearance in an on-air promo alerts her ex-husband to her whereabouts. Suddenly, Ivy is facing the fight of her life – one that forces her to face her deepest fears as a woman and a mother. This time, however, she’s got a sisterhood behind her: companions as complex, strong, and lasting as the quilts they stitch.

The Walking People: Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in the west of Ireland until she found herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister Johannah and a boy named Michael Ward. Labeled a softheaded goose by her family, Greta discovers that in America she can fall in love, raise her own family, and earn a living. Though she longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself, her decision to spare her children knowledge of a tragedy in her past forces her to keep her life in New York separate from the life she once loved in Ireland, and tears her apart from the people she is closest to. Even fifty years later, when the Ireland of her memory bears little resemblance to that of present day, she fears that it is still possible to lose all when she discovers that her children–with the best of intentions–have conspired to unite the worlds she’s so carefully kept separate for decades. A beautifully old-fashioned novel, The Walking People is a debut of remarkable range and power.

I can’t wait to dig into these new books… I still have a few from May that I haven’t even started, but at the rate I am reading, I will be ready for July in no time at all. I’m running a little challenge on a website I run, called Summer of Reading. Between June8th and September 8th, I’m going to be all about reading and writing. I’m excited!

I’ve spent all evening writing this one post! It’s time to watch Family Guy and relax.

Later,

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