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March Dear Reader
The exuberance of spring, which never fails to inspire me, is permeating my enthusiasm for a myriad of new books, author events, and awards. I will try not to overwhelm you with too much, but it will be hard; there is much to share.
I can finally tell you about an extraordinary debut novel, The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. All of us have been mesmerized. Dau takes topics that are vast and profound-war, guilt, heroism, and moral ambiguity- and uses them as the inspiration to paint a literary wonder. Within his artistic style we are introduced to a young Muslim war orphan, Jonas, who immigrates to the United States after his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation. Jonas narrates his own story in a way that will linger long after you put down this rare and exquisite novel. You may be thinking, "Enough with these sad and heartbreaking stories; I see enough of it in the news," but I urge you pick this up. Once you do, the news you do read and see will resonate in an utterly different way. This book is also our March Signed 1st Edition.
The decision for March Signed 1st Edition was tough. One of the other contenders was, A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer DuBois. The story seemed unlikely to me; a young English lecturer diagnosed with Huntington's disease, and a Russian chess prodigy now running against Putin, with each trying to save the other. Set in St Petersburg and in Cambridge, with a dose of Russian bureaucrats, and a speckling of Russian revolutionaries, DuBois delivers prose that manages to be both brainy and beautiful, which captured me from the very start. A Partial History of Lost Causes serves as a refreshing surprise and wonderful reminder of the joy of serendipitously picking up a book that you unexpectedly adore.
Also reading /read and loving: Carry the One by Carol Anshaw, John Irving's new book, In One Person, coming out this May, an extraordinary book that will be our August Signed 1st Edition, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman-you will hear me raving more and more about this book as the publishing date approaches (another reason to sign up for Signed 1st Edition Club). And, if you can find a few hours, you must treat yourself to the beautiful love story told in The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.
The Expats by Chris Pavone is one of those books that is getting a ton of well-deserved buzz. It is everywhere; full-page ads in The New York Times, popping up in literary columns and blogs, and this week, receiving a favorable review from Janet Maslin. One of Chris's first stops on his considerable tour...RJ Julia! Chris will join us this Thursday evening as this month's Debut Author event. I invite you to come join us.
Two of the Ephron sisters have been here, Nora and Hallie, and now we get to welcome the third sister, Delia, for her new book, The Lion is In. Not only are we huge fans of theirs, but they have been incredible supporters of RJ Julia. It will be a blast to interview Delia on April 10th at 7pm!
Also lined up, but a little farther on the horizon are: Christopher Buckley, Bill Bradley, Dee Snider from the band Twisted Sister (yes, we cover the gamut!), Mary and Carol Higgins Clark, Marilu Henner, and a fantastic calendar of family programs to both educate and excite our younger readers.
The National Book Critics Circle awards were handed out on Thursday evening. Two books that we have been excited about won, John Lewis Gaddis's biography of George Kennan, and the Mira Bartok autobiography The Memory Palace (Mira was here last year and was riveting). Geoff Dyer's Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews is on my "to-be-read" list. For all the books that won, click here.
Also, Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon, and Jhumpa Lahiri are among the new members named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Obviously, you have heard of all three-but want to point out Jhumpa Lahiri's short story collection, Interpreters of Maladies, which was her first book and the one that propelled her reputation by capturing the Pulitzer. It is one of the best short story collections I have ever read. The Chabon book that first made me a fan was Mysteries of Pittsburg, and may be one of his you missed. His Wonder Boys shouldn't be overlooked either!
The Espresso Book Machine will be installed in early May. Leading up to that, we will have more events on self-publishing, putting together an array of people who can help with graphic design, copy editing, and public relations for those of you looking to self-publish. Not to leave out, a proper ribbon cutting!
Thank you for the hundreds of incredible emails that many of you wrote, voicing what RJ Julia means to our community. It has been heartwarming to all of us here. There have been dozens of fascinating people who have expressed interest in taking over the store, and we are providing them with information and beginning the process of meeting with them. Naturally, I will keep in touch; I am optimistic that we will find just the right person.
More and more people are realizing they can download digital books from us. There are step-by-step directions on our website and we will continue to hold sessions to help any of you learn how to download e-books from our website to your e-readers.
Okay, that is it for now.
See you in the store,
P.S.: All of the Marilyn Monroe talk-the movie, My Week with Marilyn, and the new TV show, Smash, had me recalling a wonderful biography of her by Barbara Leaming that is a smart and engaging examination of the complexities of this savvy, talented, and tragic character and woman that was Marilyn Monroe. If your curiosity has been peaked by all this, Barbara's book is sure to satisfy.