Binocular Vision

About a year ago a customer whose reading preferences coincide with mine told me to read Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman. The bedside pile, however, was as tall as a year, so I am just now passing this recommendation on to you. After reading the first story I needed to wait a bit before starting the second. It was just so rich. Same for the second and the third, but after the fourth story - well, it was like eating potato chips: I just couldn't stop.

Each story reflects this author's ability to create whole worlds and lives that feel so real; and she does this with grace, and with compassion for our very human frailties. Don't miss this one, even if you usually shy away from short stories.


New Staff Picks!

We've got some new staff picks incoming, so I'll cut to the chase.

About Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Lauren says: "Such a pleasure."

And I found one of Jeff Vandermeer's earlier works quite enjoyable; City of Saints and Madmen is "a singular labyrinthine enigma built of exotic people, enchanted fungus, and sensuous horror."

Finally, Christina's first three picks are up, so check and see if she shares your interests! Home by Toni Morrison "is the newest haunting and original work from the grande dame of contemporary American fiction," and that Role Models by John Waters "made me feel warm and fuzzy."

- Alec

Rediscovering a Love of Reading

I'm sure you, like I, get into a so-called "reading rut" from time to time. I've found this often accompanies other trials in life; for me, moving home and building the beginnings of a career took up much of my time. Months passed with little temptation to commit a significant amount of time to reading. Excuses weaved themselves through my head and when I did try I found it difficult to concentrate. How could I justifiably claim to love reading if I could barely do so? With so many interesting titles coming up in June, could I afford to have them ruined by this literary funk?

And so I challenged myself. I had a week with very few commitments. I would use that week to read - and not just read, but read a book every day for the entirety. I gave myself a few rules: the books had to be at least 300 pages long; I would keep it to books marketed to adults; and I was allowed to read ahead in the next day's book if I finished early.

So I sat down on Tuesday morning, May 29th, before work and began reading Gateway by Frederik Pohl, and finished it later that evening. I enjoyed it as I hadn't enjoyed a book in a long while. It was fantastic, and reminded me of exactly what I could find between book covers. A weight had been lifted from my conscience, though I had not even been aware I was feeling any sort of guilt; looking back, it must have been guilt borne of ignoring friends.

Old friends, some of them were. I caught up with the characters I loved nestled within Timothy Zahn's Quadrail series, and some new ones from across the time and genre spectrum. The healthy mix of known and unknown was key to making it through the week. Seven days and seven books later, I feel light and refreshed. I suppose the point is that, if life is closing in, never underestimate the value of escaping it all. Make time to read, set a goal. You never know where you'll find yourself at the end.

I was alerted, also, that this is hardly a unique idea. Nina Sankovitch read a book a day for an entire year as a method of grieving, and wrote Tolstoy and the Purple Chair about her revelations. Consider it on my list.

Final Tally: Total: 2,779 pages

- Alec