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Staff Selections > Emma's October Selections

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Chance Lee (mrchance) | 42 comments Mod
Check this board to see what Emma recommends for October!

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Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
Diary by Chuck Paluniuk

Chuck Palahniuk, bestselling author of Fight Club, Choke, and Lullaby (to name a few), continues his 21st century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at our quest for some sort of immortality.

Diary takes the form of a "coma diary," kept by one Misty Wilmot as her husband, Peter Wilmot, lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt. Once she was an aspiring art student,but now after marrying Peter and moving to the once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she's been reduced to the condition of hotel maid.

But then, as if possessed, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. But can her newly discovered talent be part of a larger, darker plan?

Of course it can...

Diary is a dark, hilarious, and poignant act of storytelling from America's favorite, most inventive nihilist. Palahniuk has struck literary gold with Diary. He weaves a tale so taut you have to remind yourself to breathe.

message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes, and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of himself and of his fellow human beings.

For a start, there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful yet fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature.

message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque

"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an aadventure to those who stand face to face with it. It wil try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war."
-Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet is a short book, but remarkably complete. All the aspects of trench warfare are there: the excitement, the tedium, the horror, the pain, the fear, the hunger, the dirt, the loss, the sense of alienation, the awareness that you may die any minute, and last but not least, the realization of the futility of it all. All Quiet has a pervasive sense of futility, an initially unvoiced but later fully expressed question of 'Just what is this war all about, and why am I putting my life on the line for it? What could be worth such a sacrifice?'

All Quiet has been called, "the greatest war novel of all time." It is also the best anti-war novel I have read to date. A quick yet harrowing read.

message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
God Save the Mark: A Novel of Crime and Confusion By Donald E. Westlake

* mark n. An easy victim; a ready subject for the practices of a confidence man, theif, beggar, etc.; a sucker. -Dictionary of American Slang

That's the long definition of a mark. But there's a shorter one. It goes:

* mark n. Fred Fitch

What, you ask, is a Fred Fitch? Well, for one thing, Fred Fitch is the man with the most extensive collection of fake receipts, phony bills of sale, and counterfeit sweepstakes tickets in the Western Hemisphere, and possibly in the entire world. When Barnum said, "There's one born every minute, and two to take him," he didn't know about Fred Fitch; when Fred Fitch was born, there were two million to take him.

Every grifter, bunk artist, short-conner, shearer and short-changer to hit New York City considers his trip incomplete until he's also hit Fred Fitch. He's sort of the con-man's version of Go: Pass Fred Fitch, collect two hundred dollars, and move on.

What happens to Fred Fitch when his long-lost Uncle Matt dies and leaves Fred three hundred thousand dollars shouldn't happen to the ball in a pinball machine. Fred Fitch with three hundred thousand dollars is like a mouse with a sack of catnip.

Add to this the fact that Uncle Matt was murdered, by person or persons unknown, and that someone now seems determined to murder Fred as well, mix in two daffily charming beauties of totally different types, and you have a perfect setup for the busiest fictional hero since the well-known one-armed paperhanger.

Take one part gumshoe caper, one part comedy of errors, shake well, and enjoy absolute hilarity!

message 6: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
A Wolf at the Table
by Augusten Burroughs

"As a little boy, I had a dream that my father had taken me to the woods where there was a dead body. He buried it and told me I must never tell. It was the only thing we had ever done together as father and son, and I promised not to tell. But unlike most dreams, the memory of this one never left me. And sometimes...I wasn't altogether sure about about one thing: was it just a dream?"

With A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs makes a quantum leap into untapped emotional terrain: the radical pendulum swing between love and hate, the unspeakably terrifying relationship between father and son. Told with a scorching honesty and penetrating insight, it is a story for anyone who has ever longed for unconditional love from a parent. Though harrowing and brutal, A Wolf at the Table will ultimately leave you buoyed with a profound joy of simply being alive. It's a memoir of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.

message 7: by Emma (last edited Oct 21, 2010 11:05AM) (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
In the Bedroom By Andre Dubus

The seven stories collected here, including Killings, the basis for Todd Field’s award-winning film, In the Bedroom, showcase legendary writer Andre Dubus' sheer narrative mastery in a book of quietly staggering emotional power.

Culled from Dubus’ treasured collections, Selected Stories and Dancing After Hours: Stories ,these beautiful stories of people at pivotal moments in their lives are some of the most bewitching and profound in American short-fiction.

Bonus: As a New England Native, Dubus speckles little "Hey, I know that place," gems throughout his text creating an even deeper connection with the local reader.

message 8: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother By James McBride

Please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised.

Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound.

The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered.

In telling her story, along with her son's, The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.

message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
Dry by Augusten Burroughs

A recovering alcoholic once explained alcoholism to me like this: "It's like dancing with a gorilla. You're not done until the gorilla's done." -Dry

In Dry, an adult follow-up to his shocking and hilarious childhood memoir, Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs recounts his introduction into recovery from alcoholism.

Burroughs' story of his raging alcoholism, his stay at rehab, and the tumultuous months that follow is a heart-wrenchingly authentic picture of the tornado that is the alcoholic.

Told by anyone else, this story is often too depressing to digest sober, but as in Running with Scissors, Burroughs again proves his innate ability to infuse generous amounts of humorous insight into the most depraved and depressing of circumstances.

message 10: by Emma (last edited Oct 21, 2010 11:27AM) (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
Night Bloom: An Italian-American Life
by Mary Cappello

Delicately interweaving the bilingual journals of her grandfather (a southern Italian shoemaker), her mother's poetry, Sicilian folklore, and dreamwork with her own story, Mary Cappello writes as witness of the marks left on her family by immigration and assimilation. Night Bloom counters America's obsession with mafiosi at the same time that it exposes the daily violence of grinding poverty.

message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma (empendleton) | 19 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "Diary by Chuck Paluniuk

Chuck Palahniuk, bestselling author of Fight Club, Choke, and Lullaby (to name a few), continues his 21st century reinvention of the horror novel in this sca..."

I'm now almost halfway through Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.

Palahniuk is swiftly becoming one of my favorite modern fiction writers. He's wonderfully twisted and nearly impossible to put down. I think it's safe to say I'm a little obsessed.

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