Eric, reader of good nature books and head maple syrup maker, started the Bookloft in 1974.
Eric's Staff Picks:
(See more of my staff picks here.)
Title: Putin Country
Anne Garrels can glean more information from a 15 minute taxi ride with a garrulous driver than many reporters could discern in a month of research. A fascinating account of how and why so many Russians admire and follow their autocratic president.
Garrels, a Berkshire neighbor, after twenty years of reporting and traveling to Russia, knows her subjects intimately well. I felt enlightened when I finished Putin Country.
Title: Dog Run Moon
One reviewer said aptly of Callan Wink's--mostly male-- characters that they all seem to sense that they are about to be "cut from the herd". Still, they trudge on.
Sprinkled with a healthy dose of authentic western flavoring, these quirky plot lines and lost and lonely folk will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.
A debut collection of stories as fine as any I've read in years.
Title: Norwegian Wood
This Finn loves it!
Put it on the stack next to bed
Ax yourself, do I want to read this?
Trust me it will light a fire in you to get into the woods.
Sorry, couldn't resist...
But it really is a terrific book.
We've sold at least a cord!
Title: Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain
Imagine if Hank Williams, or Lucinda Williams, or Steve earle wrote fiction- as in, book ficiton- well, these could be their stories.
And this is Lucia Perillo's first book of non-poetry!
In these 14 tales, low clouds hang over dubious characters who again and again make terrible decisions. And that's why it's so entertaining.
But darn it, the book is going out of print, so grab it while you can!!
Title: The Oregon Trail
Forget about all that stuff you learned about in sixth grade about the Oregon trail—it was a highly risky, brutal, and dangerous crossing that these 400,000 pioneers undertook to "see the elephant" as the term of day went.
Rinker Buck (a former Berkshirite and Berkshire Eagle reporter) has a writing style in the vein of Bill Bryson or Tony Horowitz. You are both entertained and enlightened. A great read.
Title: The Remedy for Love
Bill Roorbach is one of the best writer's nobody's ever heard of. I for one am a great champion of his. In Remedy for Love Roorbach shows that life- like people- is not always as it appears. Kirkus reviews calls it a "superbly grown-up love story" and they're spot-on with that. It is at once blackly funny, tender, raunchy and believable. With luck, this will be Bill Roorbach's breakout book and more people will discover what a supremely gifted storyteller he is.
Title: Get What's Yours
When I started The Bookloft 41 years ago (Mother's Day 1974!) I surely never thought that decades hence I'd be staff picking, let alone utilizing, a book about collecting social security...
What the hell!?
Anyway, truth be told, this really is a very useful book full of succinct and wry pointers for, well, getting what's yours. I always enjoy co-author Paul Solman's economic pieces on the PBS News Hour and his contribution to this book is abundantly obvious. Give it a look. It could well save you a bundle.
Title: A Spy Among Friends
Arguably the greatest spy in history, Kim Philby torpedoed countless anglo-american spy operations for twenty years and knowingly sent hundreds- not thousands- of operatives to their deaths.
Told with great suspense, psychological insight and a keen journalistic style, A Spy Among Frineds is a Superb history and biography of one of the modern era's most perfidious characters.