Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Young Adult Books for Old Adults

I bet a lot of you grown ups out there have read the Hunger Games series.  Probably a fair few of you have read the Twilight books, perhaps more than care to admit.  And I know a ton of you have read Harry Potter.  But those aren't the only awesome young adult books out there that can satisfy the adult reader.  Patti at our Ravenna store has put together a list of young adult books that can be enjoyed by all ages.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance! When Katharine Tulman's
inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Every Day by David Levithan

In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly
calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Graceling  by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace...and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Syllabus

Having just finished school, I find myself with some long-overdue extra time and a whole lot of reading to catch up on. I wonder what should the form of my reading take. Because, while school may be over, I still have this strange need to be told what to read. So, I'm working on my syllabus for the summer. In doing so, I've been looking into the reading related goals of others, here a few that I'm pondering:

  • of course there is the practical and money-saving read every unread book in my house. Read it or get rid of it could be my new mantra.
  • I could pick one new author and read all of their books...I probably wouldn't try this with Charles Dickens.
  • I've always been a fan of theme reading. Maybe Moby Dick followed by a non-fiction tome about whales.
  • My mom is slowly making her way through all the presidents, reading a biography of each...though I think one presidential historian in the family is enough.
  • Maybe I should read every book that's won a literary prize in the last three years. That would get me caught up.
  • I have one friend who is reading the favorite book of each of her friends.
Those are a few ideas. But I'm still not set on a specific course. I should probably just go back and re-read the Harry Potter books while I figure it out. Any ideas for me? What's your summer syllabus?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Books for Dads

Need some help figuring out what to get your Father this weekend. Here are some ideas for all different kinds of Dads.

Literary Dad

The Son by Phillip Meyer (Ecco)
This brutal and exquisitely written Texan generational saga is about as much as a guy book as you can get. In researching the book the author killed a buffalo and drank a mug of its blood for crying out loud.

Sports Dad

Class A by Lucas Mann (Pantheon)
Spend a year in the life of a minor league team, the Clinton LumberKings, which happens to be the Seattle Mariners Class A minor league affiliate. Its like Friday Night Lights meets Field of Dreams (not really, but you get the idea).

History Dad

The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson (Henry Holt)
The magnificent conclusion to Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about the Allied triumph in Europe during World War II. At 896 pages it will also double as an exercise dumbell.

Kitchen Dad

Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan)
Brooklyn raised Korean American chef does Southern food. Do you need more of a sales pitch than that? OK, recipes include Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust and Buttermilk Pepper Gravy and Braised Beef Kalbi with Soft Grits and Scallions. Plus there is fried chicken and waffles on the cover.

Music Dad

Waits/Corbijn '77-'11 by Tom Waits and Anton Corbijn
For the Dad who has everything, this gorgeous oversize slipcase photography book showcases the thirty plus year collaboration of  these two iconic artists, the musician Tom Waits and the photographer Anton Corbijn. Its a limited edition, so Dad will be the only kid on the block with one on his coffee table.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Big Names and Some Big Books

Here's a quick recap of some of the new books just released by big authors that you might have missed. You can tell these are big authors because their names are in larger font than the titles.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships: with plants and animals, the soil, farmers, our history and culture, and, of course, the people our cooking nourishes and delights. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?  On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?  Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Best-selling popular science writer Roach turns her attention here to the alimentary canal. Roach asks the questions that some readers may have always wondered: Does saliva have curative properties? Do pets taste food differently than their owners do? Could Jonah have survived three days in a whale's stomach? Could Americans lower the national debt by chewing their food more thoroughly? As she investigates these questions, Roach encounters many an eccentric scientist who has worked tirelessly to unlock the mysteries of saliva, gastrointestinal gases, and mastication. As she recounts her adventures in tasting centers and laboratories, she aims not to disgust readers, but to inspire curiosity--even awe--for the most intimate functions of the human body. VERDICT Filled with witty asides, humorous anecdotes, and bizarre facts, this book will entertain readers, challenge their cultural taboos, and simultaneously teach them new lessons in digestive biology

Saturday, June 8, 2013

David Foster Wallace Kind of Day

You may have seen this already. Maybe not. It's worth another view even if you have.  Inspiring and truthful, and a great reminder of how thoughtful David Foster Wallace was, and how much the world is missing without him in it. This is a short film based on his commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005, maybe the best commencement speech. Ever.

The full speech is also available as a book.

Speaking of David Foster Wallace, I've been enjoying the most recent collection of his essays. Not only is the writing fantastic (naturally) but the book itself is such a beautiful object.

Both Flesh and Not

Never has Wallace's seemingly endless curiosity been more evident than in this compilation of work spanning nearly 20 years of writing. Here, Wallace turns his critical eye with equal enthusiasm toward Roger Federer and Jorge Luis Borges; Terminator 2 and The Best of the Prose Poem; the nature of being a fiction writer and the quandary of defining the essay; the best underappreciated novels and the English language's most irksome misused words; and much more. 

Both Flesh and Not restores Wallace's essays as originally written, and it includes a selection from his personal vocabulary list, an assembly of unusual words and definitions.

And just to round out your Saturday with David Foster Wallace...here is Ami's review of Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest is a great summer book, not so much because it's a beach read but more because it will take you ALL SUMMER to read it. But what an enthralling, immersive experience! Both profoundly hilarious and absurdly sad, Infinite Jest is a sweeping, spiraling epic that builds upon itself with control and adeptness. I truly believe that this is the Great American Novel to end all Great American Novels.