John T. is reading Rivka Galchen’s new short story collection American Innovations
Liz picked up Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Dante just started Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl
which is an insightful look into her own life, and the culture surrounding transgender issues
Tyler is reading Homer’s Iliad
It’s, um, challenging
Ashley is planning on reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie BennetThe novel companion to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube series.
I loved the videos, so I’m sure I will adore the book!
Ryan is catching up on the classics by reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
I’m about halfway through, and it has been excellent so far. I’m in love with, and am slightly creeped out by the trippy dystopian future that has been created. I’m crossing my fingers in hope that Mr. Huxley is not a prophet.
Dustin is reading This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
Angela is reading reading Night Film by Marisha Pessl
A dark mystery with an interactive element that make it all the more terrifying.
Dane is reading The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
What are you reading this Friday?
Walter Dean Myers passed away earlier this week at the age of 76 after a brief illness.
The New York Times, to which he contributed often, has posted an article on his life and contributions to the world of Children’s literature.
Mr. Myers has two new books coming out in the next year as well as a graphic novel adaptation of his book “Monster”.
Although the sun is meant to shine, us booksellers will surely spend the weekend with a book.
Here is what McNally Robinson staff will be reading this weekend:
Joel will be reading “The Son" by Philipp Meyer
John is reading ”Nine Rabbits" by Virginia Zaharieva from Black Balloon Publishing
Tyler is reading “Robot Uprisings”, anthology edited by Daniel H. Wilson.
Must-read for robot nerds such as myself - He says
Helen is finishing off “Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver
Not new but a great read
Ashley is reading “Noah Barleywater Runs Away" by John Boyne
It’s a very unusual read so far but entertaining none the less
Miranda is currently reading “Eleanor Rigby" by Douglas Coupland
I previously read Hey Nostradamus! and thought it was great, so I thought I’d try something else of his
John C is continuing to read ”Salinger" by David Shields.
I’m almost half-way through it, thoroughly enjoying it. If you’re a fan of Salinger, this is a must read.
Matthew is reading Louis Crompton’s “Homosexuality and Civilization”
A long reaching history of queer folks in the West, going back as far as the ancient Greeks. Crompton was one of the world’s first “queer theorists” and his magisterial history is lively, accessible, and utterly captivating. It’s a great and necessary read
Devon has a hold of the New Directions Poetry Pamphlet “Poems of Osip Mandelstam”
Cam recommends “Testo Junkie" by Beatriz Preciado. He describes it as
Bracingly personal new narrative-style vignettes that alternate seamlessly with a bold Foucaldian account of the laboratory called a person.
Send us your Friday Reads friends, or tweet the @mcnallyrobinson, #fridayreads
1) Any exciting news about your sections?
The big news is the new Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon, "Written In My Own Heart’s Blood". At over 800 pages, it’s a big, sprawling novel featuring the romantic adventures of her time-travelling heroes. Gabaldon invented the genre and no one has ever come close to challenging her imaginative storytelling.
We were fortunate to have Diana Gabaldon give a reading at our Grant Park store a few years ago. She impressed everyone with her energy, charm and sincerity. She writes because she has stories to tell. The store was packed, and judging by the reception of “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”, all those people, and more, have been waiting for this novel for a long time.
2)What should people be aware of in your sections that they maybe aren’t?
We have a section dedicated to westerns!
Yes, the western novel is far from dead. It is, in fact, enjoying something of a renaissance. Louis L’Amour continues to be a bestselling author, twenty-five years after his passing. His classic tales of the west come out of his own experience of growing up on the American frontier and are packed with the kind of hard facts you just can’t make up.
William W. Johnstone and Ralph Cotton have taken up his call, as has Winnipeg’s very own Stone Wallace who visited out Grant Park store in March to sign copies of his new book "Black Ransom". Then there’s Elmore Leonard, who started out writing westerns before devoting himself to mysteries, and Robert B. Parkers who is best known for his mysteries but never lost his love for the well-written western.
One of my favourite authors, who I think deserves to be more well known, Ron Hansen, has written two westerns, "Desperadoes" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", the latter being made into the 2007 film starring Brad Pitt.
3) What are you hand selling these days?
Any of the crime thrillers by John Lescroart. His backlist makes him one our most consistent selling authors. His readership is loyal and growing. His latest novel "The Keeper", featuring Dismas Hardy, shows all the hallmarks of a major author in the making. Still in the suspense/thriller vein, Greg Iles is back with "Natchez Burning" after a long convalescence following a traffic accident in 2011. What distinguishes Iles’ novels is the real-life settings in which his dramas take place.
4) Any new trends?
It’s not necessarily that new, but a number of authors have taken a page from the TV sagas and are having major success by writing series. One of the most successful is everyone’s favourite convicted felon, Jeffrey Archer. His Clifton Chronicles comprises (so far) "Only Time Will Tell", "Sins of the Father", "Best Kept Secret" (all in paperback) and the new hardcover "Be Careful What You Wish For".
5) What would be something good for someone who mostly reads non-fiction?
Anything by Edward Rutherfurd would be ideal for the history buff. Rutherfurd takes his topics (the most recent being Paris) from their origins in the deep past, peoples them with fascinating characters, and follows their lineage into the present.
6) What should we look forward to in the section?
The new legal thriller by John Grisham, "Gray Mountain", is coming out this fall. Stephen King, never one to rest on his laurels or anything else, releases "Revival", in November. And for anyone with a thirst for a sophisticated tale of vampires, Deborah Harkness not only returns with "The Book of Life", the third novel in her All Souls trilogy, she pays a visit to our Grant Park store on August 19.
Here is what booksellers are reading this weekend!
Steve is reading the wonderfully creepy novel "Authority", the second book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff Vandermeer, in which the mundane meets the inexplicable.
He is a brilliant, brilliant writer and one of my faves.
… again. I can’t help it; that’s why it is my staff pick.
The romance has Twilight-esque elements, but it’s much better written. It also has time travel and historically accurate depictions of alchemy, which is just gravy
John C jus finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
Really good read, about her challenges in life, and how a trek along the Pacific Crest Trail helped her get her life back together. Very inspiring.
This week John C took us around the newly updated cooking section.
Any exciting news about the section?
I’m particularly excited and proud of the indigenous peoples component in the cooking section. A number of us were surprised when we realized we have cultures from around the world represented in the section, but where were our aboriginal cultures of North America? Something was seriously amiss. I was intrigued to read that at one time there was no such thing as tomato sauce in Italian food. The tomato came from the indigenous peoples of South America. The same goes for the potato. We owe so much to our aboriginal brothers and sisters. Can you imagine life without chocolate? Yes, also from the indigenous peoples of South America. Among the interesting books in the section are Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens and A Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native People’s Cuisine.
What should people be aware of?
With growing concern over what is going into our food, everyone should be learning how to cook and bake, at least at a basic level. If I can do it, anyone can do it. We have books that cater to everyone — from the absolute beginner to the culinary pro. Don’t admit defeat after one mishap in the kitchen. As with anything else, it takes a couple of tries to get it right. A serious setback, even outright failure, is all part of the learning process. So you burn that cake or that first effort at making bread, no problem. It’s probably happened to most everyone at least once. As for the excuse there is so little time in our fast-paced lives to cook or bake, you might be surprised how quickly you can prepare something. I’ll make three liters of soup and freeze it in jars, then I have a nice supply that only needs to be defrosted, heated, and it’s a quick meal after work. It’s a lot more economical than a can or packet of soup. It tastes so much better, too, and, of course, it’s healthier. And, hey, what better way to get to know that special person than having fun in the kitchen and preparing a meal together? When in the store, feel free to ask for me. I love talking cooking and baking with people. I’m learning with our customers.
What are you hand-selling these days?
I’m a big fan of home-made bread. I was living abroad, and one day I had this incredible urge for a bagel and cream cheese, and, at the time, a bagel could not be had in my adopted city in Central/Eastern Europe. I figured it couldn’t be that difficult to learn how to make bagels. It turned out to be incredibly easy. I was making bagels on a weekly basis. (Try a lather of cream cheese topped with a slab of Gouda cheese on that fresh bagel! Mmm.) Then I gradually moved on to whole-wheat bread. There’s a growing movement in making bread. Curiously, a lot of men are getting into it, and, no doubt, of course, plenty of women, too. Check out Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own or Josey Baker Bread. There’s something absolutely magical about home-made bread, right out of the oven.
Any new trends?
Vegetarian certainly seems to be growing. I’m vegetarian, more out of laziness than anything else. As meat prices go up, you might be surprised how phenomenal and hearty vegetarian soups and chillies can be, and you may very well not miss that meat. I make a pretty good meatless chilli. I have a recipe that calls for a can of beer, which adds a certain zest to it. A little sour cream can also add a nice touch. There’s a lot to explore in our vegetarian and vegan sections.
Any good suggestions for outdoor cooking season?
Vegetarian approaches in outdoor cooking is getting interesting. Who says burgers have to be meat? But for those people who still like their meat, a popular new release is ManBQue: Meat. Beer. Rock and Roll. Another curious approach in outdoor cooking is Pizza on the Grill. No matter whether you’re into meat or being meatless, with summer season upon us, you’ll find appealing cookbooks that are taking that barbecue in new directions.
What should we look forward to in the section?
We will continue to have the latest new releases, but also the more established titles that many people look for. We’ve expanded the choices in frugal cooking and learning how to cook. Our customers have a wide range of interests and needs, and we want to have a cooking section that meets all that. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, in all likelihood we can get it for you. No doubt, more people want to learn how to cook and bake, or to expand on their culinary skills, and we want to be there to help.