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Thursday, June 19,2014

Book reviews: Notes from Neil

Summer Used Book Roundup!

by Neil Rajala

Thursday, June 19 — Another trip through the used book stacks, thinking about what might be fun for the upcoming summer months. This list comes from the Grand Rapids store, so folks in Lansing will need to check on the availability of these. And they're first come, first served, so if you see something you have to have, give us a call and we'll set it aside for you. Here's what we're reading:

* THE ART FORGER - B.A. Shapiro
A lovely, twisty little mystery set in the world of high stakes art forgery. Ms. Shapiro went from semi-successful novelist to NYT bestseller when the world discovered this gem. Hardcover $7.50

* THE 34-TON BAT - Steve Rushin
One of my all-time favorite baseball books. Mr. Rushin tells the story of the game's history by focusing on all of the related stuff - the ball, bat glove, uniforms, food, you name it. Along the way he shares some of the best anecdotes about America's pastime I've ever read, and instills every page with his obvious passion for the game. Hardcover $8.00

* ERNEST HEMINGWAY: FOUR NOVELS
Need a crash course on Papa's greatest work - or know someone that does? This beautiful Library of Essential Writers volume contains four of his best (which means four of this country's best) novels, complete and unabridged. The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. - Hardcover $9.00

* DEAR LIFE - Alice Munro
If you still haven't introduced yourself to last year's Nobel Prize for Literature recipient, this 2012 collection of her amazing short stories is a good place to start.. Paperback $6.00

* GREAT GOOD FOOD - Julee Rosso
Co-author of the bestselling The Silver Palate Cookbook, Ms. Rosso followed up with this one a few years later. In many ways, it was ahead of its time. The lower-calorie, lower-fat recipes it contains now make it seem like the first of the "locavore" or farm-to-table books that are so popular now, rather than a traditional diet book. Paperback $7.00

* WOLF HALL - Hilary Mantel
The author puts you inside the head of Thomas Cromwell during the tempestuous rule of Henry VIII. The high level of intrigue and gritty realism won Mr. Mantel the Man Booker Award, the National Book Award and millions of sales across the word. A beautiful copy. Hardcover $8.00

* MIGHTY THOR: MARVEL MASTERWORKS, VOL. 3

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in their prime, in an excellent volume with full color that is way better than the cheaply-printed original comics. Ten of the original 12 comics plus the very first 25 annual - I think I owned them all back then. Hardcover $10.00

* BEST OF AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN 2009

So you could spend $35.00 to get the 2014 edition of these yearly collections of recipes, equipment reviews, taste tests and cooking tips; or a small fraction of that for the 2009 version in almost-new condition. How much could really change in a few years? Hardcover $9.00

* THE SHALLOWS - Nicholas Carr
The most interesting and most popular book to date on the question of whether or not our growing reliance on the Internet is changing the way we think, read, write and communicate with each other. The shift from deep concentration to rapidly sampling bits of information - what is it doing to us? Paperback $6.00

* A WHOLE NEW MIND - Daniel Pink
Mr. Pink became a social science superstar by daring to suggest that it will be the right-brain crowd - artists, inventors, writers, etc. - who will take the lead in a large number of fields in the future, many of them not typically thought of as creative endeavors. He apparently touched a nerve in both left- and right-brained folks, as his book became an ongoing bestseller. Paperback $6.00

* THE SPARROW - Mary Doria Russell
I know, I know, I've mentioned this book many times over the years. It still sticks with me as one of the most remarkable novels I've read. It's sci-fi, but but don't let that stop you if you're not a fan of the genre. It's also inventive, full of compelling characters and incredibly moving. Paperback $6.00

* TOM SAWYER / HUCKLEBERRY FINN - Mark Twain
Familiar and classic stories combined in a truly beautiful single volume. It's the Dalmation Press Classic Library for Children edition, which I had never seen before. Embossed cover, ribbon bookmark and beautiful illustrations. Somebody you know has a library that needs this. Hardcover $8.00

* LINCOLN IN 3-D - John J. Richter
This one's a hoot. Real, historic stereoscopic images of Lincoln and his times, rendered in modern 3-D printing technology. And yes, I checked - the 3-D glasses are still there in this beautiful used copy. Hardcover $9.00


PLEASE NOTE: I included the links to our website (when possible) so you can read more about the titles on the list, if you wish. These aren't the links to the used versions of the books - used books can't be ordered through our website. But trust me, they're on the shelf at 28th Street. At least they are today.

Until next week,


Neil

NeilNeil Rajala is Currently Director of Community & Business Services for Schuler Books, Neil's decade with the company has included the wearing of many different hats - and lots and lots of reading.

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