Friday, January 10, 2014

The 2013 Warwick's Bestseller List

Happy New Year! There were some fantastic books released in 2013, here are our 50 bestsellers for the year.

1. My Beloved World - Sonia Sotomayor*
2. And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini*
3. The Valley of Amazement - Amy Tan*
4. The Future - Al Gore*
5. Survival Lessons - Alice Hoffman*
6. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter*
7. Emotions - Charles Stanley*
8. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck - Jeff Kinney*
10. Where’d You Go Bernadette? - Maria Semple
11. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion*
12. Zagat 2013 San Diego City Guide*
13. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made -Stephan Pastis*
14. The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown
15. Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
16. Proof of Heaven - Eben Alexander
17. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
18. The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate
19. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion - Fannie Flagg*
20. Wonder - R.J. Palacio
21. The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh
22. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
23. Things That Matter - Charles Krauthammer
24. Me Before You (paperback) - Jojo Moyes*
25. Inferno - Dan Brown
26. The Expats - Chris Pavone
27. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
28. David & Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell
29. The Aviator’s Wife - Melanie Benjamin*
30. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen*
31. The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
32. The Tin Horse - Janice Steinberg*
33. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
34. East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
35. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes*
36. The Light in the Ruins - Chris Bohjalian*
37. The Orphan Master’s Son - Adam Johnson
38. Food Lover’s Guide to San Diego - Maria Desiderata Montana
39. Divergent - Veronica Roth
40. Dear Life - Alice Munro
41. The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
42. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
43. Caleb’s Crossing - Geraldine Brooks
44. The Orchardist - Amanda Coplin
45. History of a Pleasure Seeker -Richard Mason
46. Life After Life -Kate Atkinson
47. Damn Few - Rorke Denver*
48. The Cuckoo’s Calling - Robert Galbraith
49. Killing Jesus - Bill O’Reilly
50. Suspect - Robert Crais*


*indicates sales from an author event

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas from the Warwick's Staff

It’s that time of year—Holiday Season; where everyone is running around frantically trying to check names off of their gift lists in time for the holiday. This where the Warwick’s staff shines. We love the challenge of finding that perfect gift; whether it is a book, toy, jewelry, or any of the other fun and gorgeous items in the store—we always enjoy trying to match people with a great gift. Last year, the Book Department put together a list of our favorite handsells for the season and it was a real hit with our customers, so this year in the same spirit, our dedicated staff is taking a moment to give you a glimpse at some of our top gift book ideas for the season.

Jim, Bookseller:
Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross “Fourteen historic journeys (Leif Erickson, Marco Polo, and many more), complete with colorful illustrations of the route and how they traveled. Fold-out illustrations of the adventures adds to this excellent gift for young and old.”

The Most of Nora Ephron “A complete collection of the late writer's humorous and often biographical essays, books, blogs, and screenwriting credits (When Harry Met Sally) and the script for her recent Broadway debut, Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks.”

Janet, Bookseller:
“Something Dark”: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
“Something Light”: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
“Something Cozy”: Susan Hill's A Question of Identity
“Something Bright”: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“For a Teen”: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
“For a Tween”: First Light by Rebecca Stead
“ For a Baby”: Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden




Sam, Local Author Coordinator:
The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin “It’s a reference book that’s easily as entertaining as any of the novels listed on its pages.”

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes “Duh”

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan “This is definitely one of the best debuts of the year—funny, poignant and well-written!

Mary Lee, Bookseller:
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg “I gave this to my all-girl gang for Christmas with the promise of a fun book club evening in January 2014! Smart, funny, and charming—the perfect holiday read.”

The Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookbook “Its festive cover is in keeping with all the festive ideas inside! Full of famous chef special recipes, as well as menu ideas, food for gift giving, and creative decorating ideas. I’m putting this in my Christmas list for sure!

Adriana, Bookseller:
Perfect for the budding fashionista or the veteran fashion addict in your life…

Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years edited by Alexander Vreeland
Dior Glamour: 1952-1962 by Mark Shaw
The Fashion Book by Phaidon Press


Great Fiction & Non-fiction for the finicky person in your life who needs great writing and a great story…

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Last but not least, for the lovable oddball in your life, this is beautifully and cheekily put together.

Taxidermy by Alexis Turner

Heather, Marketing Coordinator:
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion “This smart new novel is a prefect crossover novel for adults and teens of either sex. Quirky and well-written it is a pleasure to read.”

Boxed Dashiel Hammet from the Library of America “Perfect for the mystery fan. Who doesn’t love Hammet? This deluxe collector’s box is the most comprehensive collection of Hammet’s works around. I’d pair it with a DVD copy of The Maltese Falcon and make it a package!”

George Hurrell's Hollywood: Glamour Portraits 1925-1992 by Mark A. Viera “For the film fan, this is a beautiful coffee table book that presents over 400 of master glamour photographer George Hurrell’s Hollywood portraits. I’m a big fan of Hurrell, and find this book to be absolutely gorgeous.”

Margie, Office Department:
Daily Calm: 365 Days of Serenity by National Geographic “It’s good as a gift, it’s good for everyone. This is just such a soothing book. I read from it every morning and before I go to bed. A simply wonderful book, perfect as a gift."

Acacia, Bookseller:
The Moth edited by Catherine Burns, Catherine Burns, Adam Gopnik “Everyone has that one person on their list that's impossible to shop for. This year, battle the indecision of gift giving with 50 of the greatest true stories ever told at The Moth in New York. Even the most finicky reader will love hearing the story of how a doctor tried to save the life of Mother Teresa, how famous recording artists deal with "ear worms", and what it was like for an ordinary New York teenager to leave the United States and become the favorite girlfriend to a Pasha in the Middle East.”

America Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett “Perfect for the fantasy lovers in your life! A near perfect blend of the quirky and the macabre, American Elsewhere reads like a collaboration between Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali. Readers of writers like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman will be sure to eat up this unique take on small town America.”

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell “A whip-smart, funny, electrifying romance that's great for both teens and the young at heart. Eleanor & Park will remind you of how wonderful it was to be in love for the first time.”

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton “A near perfect yarn! Perfect for lovers of mystery and historical fiction.”

Adrian, Head Book Buyer:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
The Andalucian Friend  by Alexander Soderberg

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Horrors from the Warwick's Staff

It’s Halloween. Time for ghosts, ghouls, witches, zombies and all things that go bump in the night. This year Warwick’s Staff put our heads together to come up with a new Halloween reading list. Instead of picking our favorite spooky books, the staff has compiled a list of the scariest books we have read recently. From horror to reality, these books span the gamut, and perhaps may give you that perfect read while awaiting those trick-or-treaters tonight. Happy Haunting!


Lydia, Assistant Children’s Book Buyer: 2030 by Albert Brooks. Although the story takes place in the near future year of 2030, many of its prescient issues and ideas affect us today. An earthquake has rocked Los Angeles. Can we afford to rebuild the city? Think creatively! Meanwhile, a huge grumbling underclass of young and middle-aged people staggers under the weight of supporting a fabulous lifestyle for seniors who are living into their 100’s. By turns hilarious and terrifying, this is the scariest novel I’ve read recently. It continues to haunt me.

Jolene, Gifts: The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This one is an older book that I’ve recently read again. It always scares me, especially in a dark room!

Sam, Local Author Coordinator: Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I normally don’t get scared by books, but this one did! I had to sleep with the lights on—so scary, but so good I couldn’t put it down.

Sam also picked The Circle by Dave Eggers. Eggers depiction of the overwhelming influence technology has over us, and our blind willingness to allow it was spot on. It was really creepy.

Janet, Bookseller: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Bundle up and keep warm while you read this dark and creepy novel set in Iceland during the 1800’s. It’s the tale of a woman awaiting execution for the crime of murder. To make it even more horrifying, the story is based on actual events. I could not put it down!

Jim, Bookseller: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. What starts as a lovely story about a country house becomes something much more…and horrific.

Lynn, Office: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. Loved it! Too scary to read at night.

Heather, Marketing Coordinator: Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Not only is this book my favorite read of the year, but also by far the scariest. From page one the tension, and possibility of (I’m not telling) the supernatural, kept me engaged and literally white knuckled. This is one of those intense books that mess with your head in all the right ways. I might not have been scared stiff à la Paranormal Activity, but I was certainly on edge. A truly brilliant scary book freaks you out, but keeps you yearning for more, Night Film does just that.

Kim, Buyer: So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. So Sexy So Soon is about how tweens grow up in our overly sexualized society. I was frightened page after page hearing real life stories about how our children seek to be "sexy" like their favorite characters of TV!

John, Book Buyer: What book keeps me awake at night, fearing what I might awaken to the next day? It's It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it's scarier. I doubt the combined talents of Poe, Shelley, and Lovecraft couldn't dream up anything more menacing than our present-day Congress. Boo!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Rosie Project

Genetics professor Don Tillman is a remarkable man. He’s a master martial artist, wonderful cook, an associate professor at a prestigious university, and can literally accomplish anything he programs his mind to do. So, when this paper perfect man sets out to find the perfect wife, success is inevitable—right? The thing about Don is, that well, he’s a bit different. He lives according to a rigid schedule, has a brain like a computer, and doesn’t quite see the world like the rest of us do. In fact, though it’s never outright stated, Don most likely has undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. So when Don, a man who thinks a computer survey, aka The Wife Project, can produce for him the perfect match, things are bound to go a bit awry, especially when you throw in a girl like Rosie. Rosie is everything Don is not looking for—she smokes, is a vegetarian, arrives late, and completely throws out Don’s schedules. She upheaves his entire life, drawing him into a search for her biological father using genetic testing, and showing him things he’s never taken the time to process before. In short, Rosie is nothing that Don wants, but everything he needs. Thus begins The Rosie Project.

I love an unreliable narrator, and Don is just that. Don truly doesn’t realize his own syndrome, he sees the world is such a different way—everything is black or white, fact oriented, very ‘face-value”— that his observations of the world and people around him are so far-off, so oddly naïve, that his reliability as a narrator is not there. On the flip-side, as a reader, we see the things that Don is oblivious of—social cues, sexual advances, friendship—and it is those misreads that make Don loveable and really quite fascinating. Don’s relationship with the spontaneous and emotional Rosie is a joy to read about. In some ways it’s like reading two books at once. We have Don’s story, as told by him, and then we have the story that Don doesn’t see, the world beyond Don’s social comprehensions. Author Graeme Simsion does a brilliant job of creating these layers of nuance. He capably draws in the reader by allowing us to see the world in these two ways—the innocence of Don and our own more worldly vision. It is this that first won me over as a reader, and then there’s Rosie.

If Don is like a wonderful computer, picking up information, processing it, and regurgitating it in his own language, then Rosie is a bundle of energy and passion. She is almost Don’s complete opposite; compulsive and emotional, yet she is also quietly brilliant, a perfect match for Don’s own intelligence. The two characters blend in ways that draw out their best qualities, creating an interesting and oddly compelling dynamic. Rosie and Don’s relationship is this quirky, beautiful thing, a unique and wonderful treat for the reader.

I have to admit that I don’t quite know how to properly recommend this book. It’s such a fantastic read, wrapped in a light and airy package that is it easy to dismiss as another romantic comedy. The thing is, The Rosie Project is not just another romance, it’s a character study, a story told both through the words of the narrator, and through the eyes of the observant reader unmasking the concepts not realized by that narrator; Don doesn’t even realize he’s the star of his own love story, or that love can even exist for him. It is also a coming-of-age tale, as both Don and Rosie struggle to find their places in the world, becoming the people they were meant to be, but could never see. The Rosie Project is an absolutely compulsive read. It’s layered, remarkable, and sweet; one of those books that just draws the reader into its distinctive world and thoroughly captivates until the end. This is a book that you read, and then want to read again. It makes you feel good, and it makes you want to know these characters. I can’t praise it enough, and I can’t wait to read it again. Read The Rosie Project and you too will fall in love.

Want to learn more about this book and meet the amazing man behind it? Then stop by the store on Thursday, October 17th at 7:30pm to meet author Graeme Simsion. Reserved Seating is available. Click here for details about this upcoming event.

Heather Christman is Warwick's Marketing Coordinator

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Carmen's Playlist

Carmen is the newest member to the Warwick's team. She's recently join us as our book receiver, but don't let the boxes fool you, she is an avid reader with a real pull towards strong, literary fiction and thought provoking non-fiction. A fantastic addition to the Warwick's staff! Take a look at Carmen's current picks:

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce
When a young couple becomes stranded in a deserted Alpine village inexplicable and bizarre occurrences test the strength of their relationship. Joyce's descriptive combination of romance and the supernatural will leave readers in an apprehensive tension to the end. The Silent Land will give readers pause, and even question their lives and contributions to them.

The Infatuations by Javier Marias
In The Infatuations Maria Dolz befriends recently widowed Luisa, and ends up being drawn into the dark story of her husband's murder. Marias' sentences enchant readers with every word. The Infatuations manages to be an engaging murder mystery while being morally challenging and philosophical in this elegant novel of love, death, and fate.

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne
Boyne tells the story of Georgy, an 82-year-old man looking back on his life during the end of czarist Russia and the reign of the Romanovs. Georgy's past is told with riveting mystery and suspense. Readers will develop a love for Georgy, being drawn in to discover his secret flaw. The House of Special Purpose presents love and loss through Boyne's richly textured words.

Quiet by Susan Cain
The world of introverts, and their hidden benefits are uncovered in this intriguing read. Cain masterfully gives insight to introverts and their often undervalued contributions to our lives with her extensive research. Cain's passion is evident in Quiet, and will change readers views on introverts, and themselves.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann
When intrepid explorer Percy Fawcett never returns from his search in the Amazon for "The Lost City of Z" David Grann goes on his own expedition in this captivating true story. Grann intertwines Fawcett's quest along with his own, while unraveling the mystery of "The Lost City of Z".

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
A prime number, only able to be divided by itself or one, never fits with another. When traumatized primes Mattia and Alice befriend each other they form a delicate relationship. Unable to express their love for each other, their relationship will be tested to its limits in Giordano's strangely beautiful masterpiece.

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
When nine-year-old Michele Amitrano explores an abandoned farmhouse he discovers a secret so dark and gruesome his life changes as he struggles to come to terms with it. Ammaniti skillfully portrays the world of children, the value of innocence, and the complexities of growing-up in this lyrical and compelling novel.

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
Manning vividly presents the tale of Axie, an out of the law physician battling for women's reproductive My Notorious Life has mystery, love, and an unforgettable picture of the 19th century.
rights, in this compelling story based on true events.

South of the Border West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
A young boy Hajime befriends a girl, Shimamoto, and enjoy their childhood together, but grow apart as they grow older. Hajime, now 36 with a successful business and family, is suddenly reunited with Shimamoto, whose now mysterious demeanor plagues him with uncertainty. However their reunion brings complications for Hajime that he never expected. Murakami's wise and bittersweet end will give readers a new perception on love.

The Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri
Benjamin Chaparro, a retired detective obsessed with the decades-old rape and murder revisits his investigation in this thought provoking and compelling novel. Sacheri will make readers question what justice really means and who it belongs to. The secret in their eyes movie won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2010.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Dead Have Risen...

What would you do if someone you loved, someone who meant the world to you, who made your life complete…died?

What would you do if fifty years later that person showed up on your doorstep—never having aged, without any recollection of where they had been?

That is the very dilemma facing Harold and Lucille Hargrave, who lost their son Jacob to drowning in 1966 when he was eight years old. When Jacob appears on their doorstep fifty years later with an FBI Agent, “returned” from the dead, the elderly couple find themselves unearthing old hurts, long since patched over with the trappings of everyday life as they struggle to deal with the phenomena. Is this Jacob really their son? How has he come back? Is it a sign from God? As more and more of the dead return, the entire world finds itself asking the same questions, with devastating results.

The Returned is part science fiction, part family drama, part philosophical treatise on human nature. DelvingThe Returned such an engrossing read, one you can’t help but discuss and mull over for hours after the final paragraphs.
deep into groupthink and the human psyche without forsaking a genuinely riveting story, Pushcart Prize-winning author Jason Mott creates a narrative that is compelling and heart-wrenching. As the story unfolds readers are literally held captive by the questions that arise with a plot of this nature. You find yourself wondering how such an series of events could occur—is it God, Satan, is this the rapture—but in reverse of what we’ve always thought, has the world gone mad? As the people of the world break into groups both for and against the Returned dead, family members turn against once dead loved ones, and the Returned are relegated to internment camp-like facilities, it is nearly impossible to figure out how a book like this could possibly end. The sad revelations regarding human warmth and understanding, and our capacity to cause harm to others out of fear is remarkably present here, but Mott also manages to show our great ability for compassion—a Jewish family risks all to hide a group of young Nazi soldiers killed in World War II only to Return to a new world, a townswoman hiding an entire Returned family in order to save them from the camp, a son who watches over his Returned dementia-ridden mother—all examples of our capability of showing love, even when the rest of the world is descending into a manic paranoia. It is this dichotomy that helps to make

As a reader I love sharing books, and discussing them, but I can honestly say that I have yet to have a book discussion quite like the ones I’ve had following The Returned. From concepts of faith, to morality, philosophy, and the frightening actions that arise out of fear; The Returned keeps you on your toes, and further, stimulates in a way that goes beyond the intellectual, touching your heart and moral soul. This is one book that is guaranteed to get you thinking and talking, and will leave your breathless in the end.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Night Film: Creepy, Intriguing--This Summer's Must Read

Have you ever been scared when reading a book? I’m not talking boogie man scared, not Freddy is going to get you in your sleep afraid, or hiding under the bed from the creepy clown in Stephen King’s It; I’m talking chills up your arms, tense back, and a definite notice of any and every noise in the house. No? Well get ready for it, because Night Film is coming and it is one book you do not want to miss this summer.

Marisha Pessl’s sophomore novel (after 2006’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics) is a gunshot of a book, firing from page one and blasting right through to the end. Told in the first person by disgraced investigative reporter Scott McGrath, Night Film follows Scott’s obsessive search for answers as he delves into the apparent suicide of twenty-four year old Ashley Cordova, the daughter of famously reclusive horror film genius Stanislas Cordova, the man responsible for McGrath’s downfall. As Scott follows Ashley’s trail into the rabbit hole, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the Cordova world, where the lines of reality are blurred, and the term “things that go bump in the night” has a far greater meaning than ever before.

What a book. Night Film was like a particularly addictive drug, easy to pick up and put down, but with each successive visit more and more difficult to let go of. Pessl’s world is frightening; not in the sense of the brutal and bloody horror that is so common today, but in the psychological pit she drops her readers in, making even the most skeptical of readers start to believe in the impossible. The illusive and enigmatic Stanilas Cordova is an odd mixture of 1960’s and 70’s horror directors like Polanski and De Palma with a collection of films similar to Sisters, Repulsion, and Seth Holt’s Scream of Fear. He has his own cult-like following of Cordovites, complete with a secret website called The Blackboards, conspiracy theories, and underground film showings. Cordova is an unseen enigma, leaving a path of destruction, death, and disappearances behind him, and a society begging for more, but too scared, or too sheltered to embrace him with open arms. McGrath’s compulsive investigation of Cordova borders on the fanatical as he races up and down the state of New York trying to deconstruct the life of Ashley Cordova, desperate to find answers to her haunted existence, answers that tie back to the mythical Cordova, the occult, murder, and abduction. New York ceases to become New York in Night Film, it instead becomes an extension of Cordova’s world, the inane taking on a sinister sheen, where nothing is normal, and everything and everyone is suspect.

I am almost at a loss at how to describe my reactions to this book and why I think it is one of those must reads for the summer. I can explain how I stayed up half the night to finish it, both out of a need to see where it would go, but also because I was so disturbed and fascinated by what was happening that I couldn’t stop myself. I was on the edge while reading this, and truth be told, Pessl’s writing was so good that I honestly didn’t think I could sleep unless I finished it, and once I did reach the conclusion I couldn’t let go. My racing heart, ensnared brain, and astonished emotions just needed to process what they had been through. Night Film was a juggernaut, destroying my piece of mind and preconceived notions of what a psychological thriller could and should be; it was just that horrifyingly good. I should also take a moment to note that Pessl quite brilliantly uses multimedia screen shots, pictures, and interviews interspersed throughout the text, so readers get to read and see what Scott McGrath does; we see his interviews, the scraps of paper he finds, photos of Ashley Cordova, and the chilling images of the Blackboards and it’s zealous occupants. Actually, I tried out the URL’s, sadly they didn’t work, but if they did, wow, what a mind blowing move by the author and publisher. A fully interactive site that ties directly to the book—a wasted chance to capitalize on the blending of text and tech (although I did read this in galley form, so perhaps the sites will be up at time of publication, I could only dream). This is a clever trick, utilized very capably, a perfect way to blend our tech savvy world with the literary prowess of Pessl’s written word. Another note, this is not a horror novel. It is horrifying, yes, but it is a thriller, a literary mystery, meaning it’s well-written and smart. Pessl is a talented writer, creating a unique world that sucks its readers in and holds onto them for dear life, kind of a black hole of literary virtuosity. This may sound like an overabundance of praise, but I finished the book a few days ago, and have since (reluctantly) read another book, and still find myself lingering over the details of Night Film, revisiting it helplessly. In truth, I haven’t wanted to read a new book, I just want to savor the terror of Night Film, but if I want to escape the psychological stronghold of Night Film, there’s no choice but to move on—with much lighter fare, and look toward revisiting the dark and mesmerizing abyss that is the world of Cordova in the near future. This one is a definite “read again”—the only way to really maneuver the nooks and crannies, the shadows and mysteries that make up Night Film.

Why should you read Night Film? Because it’s good. It’s chilling, it’s mysterious, it’s sad, it’s sweet, and it’s brilliant. This is not a book you want to bypass—unless you have no nerves at all—there’s too much to it, and it is too well constructed to miss out on. Get scared. Get sucked into this world. When you get out you will gulp for fresh air, and then dive right back into the muck for more. An addictive psychological thriller that has a death grip on anyone who picks it up, Night Film is one hell of a read.

Watch the truly fantastic book trailer!


Heather is Warwick's Marketing Coordinator

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Adriana's Playlist

Adriana is one of our most experienced booksellers (she's been here since 2006), with a love of all things ballet and English. Her reading habits cover the gamut, from society biographies to thought provoking literary fiction. Adriana is an astute reader and a resourceful bookseller sure to find the right book for you.
Here's what she is currently championing:

This is How by Augusten Burroughs
This is how to read this book: Open the first page and don’t stop reading! That’s exactly what I did. I shut
out everything else, pausing occasionally to read passages to my husband. This is the best “self-help” book you will ever need or want. In Burroughs’ own words, it will help you survive what you think you can’t.

Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett
Amy falls down: literally. After accidentally knocking herself out on a birdbath in her yard, writing teacher Amy Gallop gives an erratic, yet fascinating interview to her local paper. This launches her back into the literary limelight, much to Amy’s chagrin. Funny and full of great aha moments. Fantastic!

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
McCann wields a narrative so beautiful and so powerful it will leave you breathless. Every word is a pleasure to read. Every character, whether based on real historical figures such as Frederick Douglas or Senator George Mitchell, or those imagined by the author, are filled with such rich inner lives they somehow become a part of you long after you’ve turned the last page. One of my favorite books all year!

The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor
Fans of The Paris Wife will love this brilliant portrayal of Tanaquil LeClerc, prima ballerina and last wife of George Balanchine. Struck with polio at 26, LeClerc would never dance again. Extensively researched, O’Connor gives voice to a very private one and gives us a glimpse into a world most of us will never get to see. Beautifully written!

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
London 1972: Beautiful and intelligent Serena Frome, newly recruited by MI5, is in charge of finding writers whose views align with theirs under “Operation Sweet Tooth.” Serena gets in over her head when she falls in love with the young writer chosen. Part espionage tale, part love story, you will not be able to put this down. Full of gritty suspense and beautiful prose, McEwan’s done it again!

The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey
Howrey has returned to her ballet roots with a dark & twisted tale of two sisters trying to make their own mark at a famous NYC ballet company. When younger sister Gwen suffers a nervous breakdown, older sister Kate is forced to confront her own emotions, many of which cause her to question her own sanity. Dark, funny, and a little dirty, you’ll never look at ballet the same way again.

Pain, Parties, Work by Elizabeth Winder
Most of what we know about Sylvia Plath’s time at Mademoiselle magazine comes from her only novel The Bell Jar. Winder has managed to interview several of Sylvia’s fellow editors to find out what really happened during that fateful summer of 1953. This is a fantastic read that really fleshes out who Plath was at that time and brings into focus the artist who would go on to become one of the seminal poets of her day. Fantastic and Juicy!

Dearie by Bob Spitz
What more could possibly be said about the woman who introduced french cooking to America? As it turns out, quite a bit more. Spitz includes it all, from her splendorous upbringing in Pasadena, finding love in the OSS, and her rise to fame on her very first show The French Chef. You will grow to love her even more after finishing this tour de force that captures all of Julia’s charm, wit, and raucous sense of humor. Fabulous!

The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard
Wendy is only 13 years old when her mother is killed on 9/11. Suddenly she is torn between the child she was and the adult she must now become. Should she stay with her step-dad and younger brother in Brooklyn or live with a father she barely know in California? This is a beautiful and bittersweet story of hope, love, and forgiveness.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
North Carolina 1960: Luce's solitary life is interrupted by her murdered sisters' disturbed twins whom she has inherited by default. When the murderer comes looking for the children, Luce must put her life and the life of the children in the hands of a handsome stranger. Darkly riveting and beautifully written, you will not want to put this down.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Buyer's Corner: Fall 2013

One glorious weekend in July, a small group of Southern California booksellers, myself included, traveled to the iconic La Quinta Resort and Spa for a reading retreat. We were very excited about a weekend to simply spend reading, without the pressures of work or the distractions of day-to-day life. The hot weather forced us to stay indoors to read…the 100+ degree temps made even poolside reading a bit of a challenge. It’s astonishing how many books one can read when there are no distractions! Customers and friends frequently tell me that it must be great to have a job that just involves reading. If only that were true! While reading is an important component of what I do as a book buyer, I often feel that the longer I’m in the industry, the less time I find to read. My work days are spent ordering, re-ordering, meeting with sales reps, managing, merchandising, planning promos etc., so my time to read is either first thing in the morning before I head to work or later in the evening after I get home. Sadly, after a long day at work, I often lack the energy to focus on a book. So, a weekend of reading was just what I needed to recharge and reconnect with books and colleagues. We spent the daytime on our own but met up in the evenings to share a meal and talk about the books we were reading. We had such a great time that we’re hoping to make this an annual event!

2013 has been an exceptionally strong year for great books and the fall list is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s a shortlist of what’s forthcoming. Happy reading!

Hello old friends…
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert ( Available 10/1/13) 978
“A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.”

Local Souls by Allan Gurganus (Available 9/23/13)
“In these layered, often funny narratives, close reading is rewarded as Gurganus exposes humanity as a strange species.” “The architecture of Allan Gurganus's storytelling is flawless. His narration becomes a Greek chorus, Sophocles in North Carolina. Gurganus makes the preternatural feel natural. Sexual taboos, a parent's worst fears: these emerge in tones comic and horrifying. Each novella delivers an ending of true force.”--John Irving

The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy (Available 10/29/13)
 “the story of a father and his son.”

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Available 9/17/13)
“Thomas Pynchon, channeling his inner Jewish mother, brings us a historical romance of New York in the early days of the internet, not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we've journeyed to since.”

Bridget Jones’ Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (Available 10/15/13)
 “The setting is contemporary London, and like all of us Bridget has moved on.”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Available 10/22/13)
“…a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.”

Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Available 9/24/13)
“Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.” Long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize

Someone by Alice McDermott (Available 9/10/2013)
 “A fully realized portrait of one woman's life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author An ordinary life--its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion--lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This.”
Warwick's September Signed First Editions Club Selection

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (Available 11/5/13)
"In her first novel since 2009's Saving Fish from Drowning, Tan again explores the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, control and submission, tradition and new beginnings.”

We Are Water by Wally Lamb (Available 10/22/13)
We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True

Identical by Scott Turow (Available 10/15/13)
“complex web of murder, sex, and betrayal as only Scott Turow could weave”

Never Go Back by Lee Child (Available 9/3/13)
Jack Reacher is back…what more needs to be said?!

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (Available 10/1/13)
“One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country--a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer.”

Notable debuts…
The Never List by Koethi Zan (Available now)
“The most relentless, deeply disturbing thriller writer since Jeffery Deaver and Gillian Flynn.”
 “A shocking, blazingly fast read, Koethi Zan's debut is a must for fans of Karin Slaughter, Laura Lippman, and S.J. Watson.”

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft (Available now)
“What starts as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow, the search for her sister-in-law Melanie swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy.”
For readers of Lisa Lutz & Janet Evanovich.

The Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon (Available 8/6/2013)
“This slim, melancholy debut novel (after a previous celebrated story collection, Once the Shore) traces the
extraordinary journey of Yohan, who defects from his country at the end of the Korean War, leaving his friends and family behind to seek a new life on the coast of Brazil.”  “A minimalist, well-crafted story about an austere man predisposed to avoidance who ultimately needs the people who fill up his empty spaces.”

Provocative nonfiction…
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (Available 10/1/13)
“…#1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, offers his most provocative--and dazzling--book yet. Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David's victory was improbable and miraculous. He "shouldn't "have won. Or should he? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell “challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages-offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.”

Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman (Available 10/8/13)
“the author of the #1 international bestseller Emotional Intelligence, offers a groundbreaking look at today's scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment: attention. Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.”

Life at the Speed of Light by J. Craig Venter (Available 10/17/13)
“The renowned scientist and author of A Life Decoded examines the creation of life in the new field of synthetic genomics In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside--detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question "What is life?" and examine what we really mean by "playing God.”

Good reads…
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Available 8/20/13)
This “gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.”
"An inventive--if brooding, strange and creepy--adventure in literary terror. Think Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King meet Guillermo del Toro as channeled by Klaus Kinski."-Kirkus Reviews
 Warwick's August Signed First Editions Selection

The Gods of Guilty by Michael Connelly (Available 12/2/13)
“Defense attorney Mickey Haller returns with a haunting case in the gripping new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Available 10/22/13)
Remember A Time To Kill’s Jake Brigance? He's back! Jack returns to the courtroom in a dramatic showdown as Ford County again confronts its tortured history. Filled with the intrigue, suspense and plot twists that are the hallmarks of America's favorite storyteller, Sycamore Row is the thrilling story of the elusive search for justice in a small Southern town.”

Food, glorious food….
The A. O. C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin (Available/29/13)
“From the James Beard award-winning chef and author of Sunday Suppers at Lucques--a long-awaited book of her delectable recipes for the kind of small shared plates that have made her restaurant A.O.C. one of the most popular eateries in Los Angeles." Organized by season, the recipes are adapted to be served as main courses as well as small plates. And each dish comes with Styne's suggestion for the most complementary glass of wine, so you will learn exactly what kind of flavors flatter your favorite varietal.”

The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook by Michael Anthony (Available 10/29/13)
"One of the best New York restaurants, a culinary landmark that has been changing the face of American dining for decades, now shares its beloved recipes, stories, and pioneering philosophy.”

The Cowgirl Creamery Cooks by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith (Available 10/30/13)
“Collecting the vast accumulated wisdom of two of the world's great cheese makers, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks is one of those rare books that immediately asserts itself as an indispensable addition to the food lover's library…an engrossing read that shares the story of the Cowgirls, but also of the rise of the organic food movement and creating an artisanal creamery…a primer on tasting, buying, storing, pairing, and appreciating all kinds of cheese that makes this a gorgeous gift for the cheese lover…and a sumptuous collection of recipes, with 75 appetizers, soups, salads, snacks, entrees, and desserts that showcase cow-, goat-, and sheep-milk cheese.”

Daniel: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud with contributions by Bill Buford (Available 10/15/13)  “…a welcome addition to the art of French cooking. Included in the cookbook are diverse and informative essays on such essential subjects as bread and cheese (bien sur), and, by Bill Buford, a thorough and humorous look at the preparation of 10 iconic French dishes, from Pot au Feu Royale to Duck a la Presse.. With more than 120 gorgeous photographs capturing the essence of Boulud's cuisine and the spirit of the restaurant Daniel, as well as a glimpse into Boulud's home kitchen, Daniel is a must-have for sophisticated foodies everywhere.”

Ottolenghi: the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Available 9/3/13)
“Available for the first time in an American edition, this debut cookbook, from bestselling authors Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi of Plenty and Jerusalem, features 140 recipes culled from the popular Ottolenghi restaurants and inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean.”

One Good Dish by David Tanis (Available 10/22/13)
“In this, his first non-menu cookbook, the New York Times food columnist offers 100 utterly delicious recipes that epitomize comfort food, Tanis-style. Individually or in combination, they make perfect little meals that are elemental and accessible, yet totally surprising.”

Animal magnetism…
Maddie On Things by Theron Humphrey (Available now)
When Theron set out on a roadtrip to cover all 50 states in 365 days he had no idea where that journey would take him or the significant impact it would have on his life and future. In the grand tradition of Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, his rescued coonhound, Maddie, goes along for the ride and somewhere early on he decides to photograph her standing on things as a way to document the trip. Maddie is irresistibly photogenic, and loves posing for the camera. This delightful collection will make you smile!
(We’re excited to be hosting Maddie and her human on Wednesday, 8/28 at 7:30pm! Click here for details.)

Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty and Life with Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh (Available 10/1/13)
Unlikely Friendships meets Marley and Me." In this heartwarming gift book, author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh presents a collection of inspiring dog stories and touching photos--dogs who comfort veterans, dogs who learn to surf, dogs who detect cancer, and dogs who save the day: Each one is devoted. These 38 uplifting dog stories showcase the most amazing dog rescues, accomplishments, and abilities that fascinate us and touch our hearts.”

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats by Anthony Lane (Available 10/1/13)
“Only The New Yorker could fetch such an unbelievable roster of talent on the subject of man's best friend. This copious collection, beautifully illustrated in full color, features articles, fiction, humor, poems, cartoons, cover art, drafts, and drawings from the magazine's archives.”

Shake by Carli Davidson  (Available 10/22/13)
“Original, amusing, and brilliantly documented, Shake is a heartwarming collection of sixty-one beguiling dogs caught in the most candid of moments: mid-shake. This glorious, graphic volume will stop you dead in your tracks as you are presented with images of man's best friend caught in contortion: hair wild, eyes darting, ears and jowls flopping every which way.”

Adrian is the Head Book Buyer at Warwick's

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jim's Playlist

This week we are featuring Jim's Playlist. Jim, a Warwick's bookseller since 2002, is an incredible reader--mixing fiction, non-fiction, and an array of children's books into his busy schedule. Here are his go-to books.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Many readers agree that this is one of the best books on our personal top 10 lists. Warwicks has sold almost 1,500 copies, just in paperback, since 2005 and it continues to be a bestseller. Shantaram is based on a true story: a prisoner escapes and leaves Australia for Bombay of the '60s. He lives in a slum, becomes a medic, joins the mafia, and fights against Russia for the Afghans. When he describes the slum fires, the Standing Babbas, and his life-changing travels, you know it had to be the author's first-hand experience. It's described too perfectly to be otherwise. Shantaram is an incredible story.

1001 Inventions that Changed the World by Jack Challoner
Just the right amount of text and packed with incredible photos, this is perfect for anyone with a love for nonfiction and history. Every page features a different invention, everything from Cuneiform writing to cell phones. This is an amazing array of creations with each one detailing its effect on world history. This is a dynamic and entertaining collection.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Two folk tales converge on the streets of New York at the turn of the 20th century, A clay golem, created in Europe for a man who could not find a suitable wife, is brought to life while sailing to America. Her master dies, so when she arrives a rabbi becomes her mentor. The jinni is released in a silversmith's shop while a bottle is being polished. Adapting to living with humans is an intriguing immigrant’s tale. The mystical plot twists will keep you guessing. An excellent read!

Our Dumb World by The Onion
Published by the hilarious Onion newspaper, this "atlas" pokes fun of every country in the world. Geography, world events and history are typical of the satire from its online counterpart, onion.com. This is very funny book with a look at the world you've never seen.

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
To get Detective Morck from continuing to irritate other police (he solves all his cases, actually) he is assigned all the cold cases in Copenhagen and throughout Denmark. His new office for Dept. Q is in the basement. An unsolved missing persons case is his first challenge. Crimes he investigate often have a current implication, ensuring he’s not forgotten.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Reading Jasper Fforde gave me a new appreciation for the term “back story.” Thursday Next is a special operative in Literary Detection, which monitors book plots, and characters in this surreal Great Britain. Fforde has created a world in which crime occurs and a police presence is needed. In the first of this wildly fun series Jane Eyre is kidnapped. Thursday is sent into the book to find the perpetrator. In this world time travel is a normal occurrence and dodos are pets. Who would have thought that chapters were created to give characters a much needed rest?

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
While movie star Fredric Stahl is in 1938 Paris he is asked to serve as emcee for the Reich's film festival. Little do the Nazi organizers know that Stahl is part of a secret spy service. This is a perfect place to start Alan Furst’s riveting WWII series.

Ghostman by Roger Hobbes
The anonymous "Jack" is hired by professional criminals to “clean up” a casino heist that went horribly wrong. Although the money was stolen, the ringleader never sees that cash. Jack help is needed so his boss gets the missing money and isn’t implicated in this messy crime. He has 48 hours to finish this assignment without anyone knowing who he is or what he's done, a true “ghost man.”

History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason
Piet Barol's goal is to be accepted as one of Holland's upper class, although he is born into poverty. He has practiced the manners and conventions of the rich and is prepared to be a tutor to a young man at a country estate. This first story in a planned series, Mason’s tome has been described as “Downtown Abbey with sex.” Barol fits in, almost too well, as he tries to work with a boy overwhelmed with OCD. (On YouTube the author plays the piece the boy insists on repeating.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Never List

The Never List is a frighteningly real psychological suspense, from debut author Koethi Zan sure to appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn and Chelsea Cain.

The basic plot of The Never List follows a young woman, who a decade ago escaped a man who held her and three other young women captive for several years. Sarah and Jennifer were college freshmen, hyper-aware of the dangers the world can offer—having survived a near fatal accident that took the life of Jennifer’s mother—and always prepared for any possible outcome; yet despite their manic preparedness the girls are kidnapped on a cab ride home from a college party. Held chained and naked in a basement, Sarah, along with two other girls, Tracy and Christine endure psychological and physical torture on par with the psychosis seen in Saw films, from a sadist of the highest ilk who also happens to be a professor of Psychology at an Oregon University. All the while Jennifer is nowhere to be seen, stuffed in a coffin-like box, unable to communicate with the others. When Jennifer is presumed dead Sarah makes a daring escape, but ten years on, with the chance of their frighteningly brilliant captor facing the possibility of parole, Sarah and Tracy go on a quest to find answers and face their demons once and for all.

The narrative, while primarily in the now, does bounce around in time, with snippets of the girls’ abduction, captivity, and escape dribbled out through the text; giving just enough to whet the appetite and fill in the holes, but not enough to completely tell the reader all that happened during the girls imprisonment. The violence is surprisingly slim, but the hints and possibilities that are leaked through words and images are enough to have even the bravest of women white knuckled. In some ways The Never List is a form of psychological manipulation; exposing the horrors, highlighting the monsters, but not quite giving all the details, which leads to imagination, which leads readers to visualize horrors that no one wants dancing around their heads. In that way, the book and writing are brilliant, what better way to get the true impact of a psychological thriller than to leave the worst of it to the readers’ own bit of psychosis? Unfortunately, the plot itself suffers a bit from an overabundance of foreshadowing and clue leaving; which makes it a bit too easy to figure out. In writing suspense it’s good to leave a clue here and there, a reader should be able to reach the novel’s conclusion and then be able to look back and find the bits and pieces that were left like little breadcrumbs leading to the eventual outcome. The writer should not spell out the conclusion—it makes for a poor twist and a groan from the readers. Debut writer Zan does the latter, the twists and outcome are a little too predictable. Fortunately, the predictability of the plot and resolution does not detract from the well-developed tension of the heroine, and ultimate horror of the acts and lifestyle perpetrated by the villains of the novel. The sheer terror evoked by their deeds is enough to have readers gripping the edge of the book in a weird amalgamation of discomfort and curiosity, both repelled by the concepts and addicted to the possible outcomes. Because the author wisely leaves out the more ghastly details the reader is not subjected to an outright description of the atrocities, making the tension one of the mind, and not of the eyes—meaning it’s not like watching a film like Saw or Hostel that leaves nothing to the imagination, showing torture for the sake of showing gratuitous violence and nothing more—the book is not apt to make one squeamish, or deeply disturbed, if anything it makes readers subtly more aware of their surroundings and the people within them.

In all, The Never List is a worthy read for psychological suspense and thriller fans. It is well constructed, frightening, and at times close enough to reality to make a reader want to check the doors and avoid cab rides. Despite the plot loopholes and predictability, the book creates a wonderful sort of edge-of-the-seat tension that can consume a reader, and lurk about long after the last pages of text are a distant memory. For a first book Koethi Zan has proved herself adept at handling a very real and scary subject, she can only get better from here, and I for one am eager to see what she does next.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tami's Playlist

This month we are featuring a selection of recommended reads from one of our newest staff members, Tami. While Tami may be new to Warwick's, she is actually one of the most experienced booksellers on staff, with over 16 years of experience in the book world. Tami is an avid reader, with an array of reading tastes and styles (and she's a member of a book club, so ask her about suggestions!). Here's what is on her playlist this month:

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Once again Hosseini transports us from Afghanistan and beyond, to Paris, San Francisco and the Greek Isles. Filled with memorable characters, we feel what it is to be human, the need to be connected, and the nature of family. In poetic prose, and epic in scope we see the ripple effect our choices make through generations to come. Beautifully told, complex and thought provoking. His best book to date and one not to be missed.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell
The history of the west comes to life with the flowing prose of Doria Russell. The well born classically trained and educated John Henry Holliday, Doc, moves to the Texas frontier to combat the effects of consumption. The refined dentist turned professional gambler partners with Kate Harony and Dodge City is forever changed. Meet the Earp brothers, Bat Masterson and a cast of colorful characters and live life before the O.K. corral.

Transatlantic by Colum McCann
A master at developing disparate stories and weaving them together, McCann has done it again. Ireland is the common thread as we witness the first flight from Newfoundland to Ireland, the life changing trip of Frederick Douglas and the brokering of a peace agreement by U.S. Senator Mitchell. Four generations of strong women characters are the fabric of this exquisitely written tale. Definitely one of the top literary books of 2013. Highly recommended.

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
Another strong story of the dysfunction of family and how love overcomes all. Liz and Bean are 15 and 12 respectively when their disillusioned mother Charlotte, who is still trying to “find herself” takes off for too long. The sisters decide to journey to Mom’s home town in Virginia and visit Uncle Tinsley where a host of past history comes to the forefront. Both heartbreaking and filled with the flaws of family, Walls paints a portrait of love overcoming all, even with the help of a couple of errant emus!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My favorite summer read of 2012. Step into a world of enchantment at the turn of the Century. A duel between two young competitive magicians, but beyond the black and white striped circus tents a love match is in the making. Ethereal, whimsical and utterly transporting you will want to join the night circus and cheer for Celia and Marco. This debut novel is mesmerizing in both imagination and beautiful prose. Enjoy!

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
A cowboy noir, think Cohen brothers. Eli and Charlie Sisters are bountry hunters, but Eli is considering an alternate career path. At times violent but alternatively so laugh out loud funny it is often times hard to remember they are bad guys. Take a rollicking ride through the gold mining country of Northern California as the brothers track the mysterious Hermann Kermit Warm, who happens to have a secret formula for detecting gold. Refreshingly different and imaginatively written. For the reader who loves the offbeat.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
The best coming of age saga you will ever read. Set in South Africa during the beginning of apartheid we see both the beauty and brutality through the eyes of a young English boy, Peekay. One of the most memorable characters of fiction, Peekay overcomes impossible odds to realize his dreams: to become a winner. Captivating, inspiring, magnificent, brilliantly written. A must read!

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Coplin’s novel depicts a powerful new voice in describing the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, as you feel the beauty and solitude of the land. The author has populated the story with a wide range of characters who have been scarred by the harshness of life. Talmadge seeks redemption at all costs to himself, Della mindlessly tests herself, the environment and cultural mores in her focus on revenge and the assuage of guilt, Angelene forging the only life and sense of family she has known. Told in often spare but beautiful prose, the elements of the plot brings up many questions of our humanity and what motivates us. A fantastic Book Club selection. You won’t stop talking about this one.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
Summer is not complete without the hilarity of a Hiaasen romp. He consistently creates over the top eccentric characters, who do the improbable, and is always set in Florida where apparently anything can, and does, happen. Always showing the results of greed, avarice and capricious human behavior in the most outlandish way, yes there is even a monkey in this exploit. Grab your favorite summer drink, a shady comfy hammock, and enjoy an afternoon delight.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
An unreliable narrator is at the forefront of a psychological suspense page turner set in the Gatsby era of New York. Rose is a typist who receives confessions from criminals to record their crimes for the NYPD, Odalie is the glamorous new girl in the typing pool who possess an air of mystery and is ready for everything the Roaring 20’s has to offer. Rose cannot help falling under Odalie’s spell… This one will have you wondering until the final pages.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sarah Butler's "Ten Things I've Learnt About Love"

Alice is a bit of a mess. She’s a chronic runner—restless in school as a child, flitting from job to job, escaping to far off places when things get tough— Alice isn’t one to face life’s problems head on, or even in the same country.

Daniel is a wanderer. Some might call him a tramp, a vagabond, others a bum or vagrant, but Daniel is searching; walking the streets searching the faces of Londoners for a glimpse of the daughter he’s never met.

When Alice’s father’s health takes a turn for the worst she must return to the home she fled. Thrown back into the midst of family and relationship problems; seeking answers to her mother’s death over two decades before, her father’s seeming distance, and the complicated lives of her older sisters, Alice must find the strength to face not only the issues of her life, but her future.

An encounter between Daniel and Alice has the possibility of opening both of their eyes to a world that’s
beyond their private fears and lives.

Told in first person, with chapters alternating between the perspectives of both Daniel and Alice, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love is a beautifully inventive story. Unfolding slowly, with only snippets of the past being revealed through both the narrative and top ten lists that appear at the beginning of each chapter, author Sarah Butler is able to take a small piece of a much larger story and make it seem whole and perfect. Her two main characters are infinitely flawed, but they are also endearing in their total humanness—failings and triumphs—as they meander their ways through life, both running in some way from the hurts that life can dole out. I loved how this novel is really just a glimpse into their life stories. The reader only gets pieces of the larger past, and to an extent, not everything is tied up neatly at the story’s conclusion, but nonetheless there is still a sense of satisfaction in what the reader does get from the narrators, and the eventual end, which signifies that while this part of the story has concluded, it is in fact not the end. As in reality; life goes on when a chapter closes, and anything is possible.

Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love is a wonderful glimpse at two lives. It shows how all of our choices have an impact somewhere and on someone, but that in the end they are our choices to make. It’s about love and its many incarnations; familial, paternal, romantic, friendly, and how it can change our lives in an infinite number of ways. A layered, well-written debut, I can’t recommend it enough for book clubs or those who enjoy an intimate look into the age old question “where do I belong”. If you read carefully, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love just might give you a lesson or two.

Want to read Ten Things I've Learnt About Love with your Book Club? Download the Book Club Kit here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Warwick's Guest Bloggers-“This is What Happens When You’re a Guest”

“This is What Happens When You’re a Guest”
By Katharine Allen and Laura Derickson

The candid, charming, and outrageously funny Fred Stoller paid a visit to La Jolla as part of his tour for his new acclaimed novel Maybe We’ll Have You Back, in which he recounts his life as a “perennial T.V. guest star.” Stoller has been described as the hardest working man in Hollywood, with a resume boasting over 100 guest appearances. Even so, he has maintained his sense of humor, his aura of humility and his genuine likeability.

Katherine and Laura with Fred Stoller at Warwick's
We had the privilege of sitting down with Stoller before his book signing at Warwick’s in La Jolla [on May 21, 2013] and asked him a few questions. Never having spent much time with famous people, we weren’t sure what to expect. To our delight, not only is Fred Stoller a hilarious writer and stand-up comedian, but he is also the type of guy two high-school juniors could have a blast talking to. He answered all of our questions with the ease and graciousness of someone comfortable enough with himself to make us both feel comfortable with ourselves. He gave us anecdotes from his book and life, tips for breaking into acting, and invaluable dating advice. In the end, our biggest regret was that there was so much to talk about and so little time.

One of the first things one notices about Stoller is perhaps his most endearing quality: his art of self-deprecation. When speaking about casting calls he described casting directors telling him "not so pathetic,” and then responded to them by saying, “I was being myself.” He never reached the stage of instant stardom over night. Stoller recalled experiences of being booed off the stage, yelled at by crowds, and getting booed at in parking lots. He bounced back by thinking of those crowds as “drunk idiots.” “It’s helped,” he said. When he felt rejection, he would call friends who would listen to him, sometimes all night. "You're a doomed Jew from Brooklyn," Larry David once told him, but he persevered, partially because he couldn’t come up with an alternative career.

Stoller opened up about his rise to fame, his mother, his one-night stand with Kathy Griffin, and his surprisingly modest lifestyle. “Everyone always says; ‘You must live over there,’ pointing at the Hollywood mansions and I say ‘no’ and point them in the right direction,” he told us.

We asked Stoller when he first realized he was funny, and he explained, “I just knew I was a misfit and wasn’t made for the real world, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But then I saw quirky character actors on T.V. and I thought: ‘Oh I could do that,’ but I didn’t know how to pursue it.” Stoller then began to experience stand up comedy first-hand when he started to visit a comedy club with his older sister, where he “just started hanging out watching comedians,” and his future was set in motion. But not everyone was pleased with his decision. One chapter of his book is entitled “You’re too Depressed to Be a Comedian,” because when Stoller explained to his mother than he was going to pursue a career in stand up comedy she replied; "You are so depressed, how are you going to make people laugh.” Little by little he began to put an act together, even though he was shy at first. Stoller then realized that “being nervous become my act. I had my head down and I wouldn’t look at the audience and I would just say crazy things that had really happened to me,” he said. Stoller can be seen on almost any popular T.V. series as the “awkward guy, weird guy, scared guy, nervous guy, or guy who trips.”

Of all of Stoller’s accomplishments, or credits, he has had many fabulous T.V. experiences, Seinfield standing out from the rest. He knew at the time that being part of such a show allowed him to be a part of T.V. history. “To be part of it in any facet is a thrill,” he commented. Stoller has not only acted for Seinfeld, but has also spent time as a writer for the show. He admitted, though, that guest starring is far less glamorous then being a full-time actor. He recalled that when working on a Friends episode, his “bathroom had been torn down to make a gym for the stars.” With respect to his book, Maybe We’ll Have You Back, Stoller said that “there’s actually more rejection in writing a book than stand up comedy because it’s your life.” Although he writes less than flattering stories about many famous people in the book, the only person he has heard from directly is his mother. She, he said, is “less than thrilled,” with his newest endeavor. Of course, this led to a careful conversation about his mother and his childhood. His mother is the subject of many portions of the book. She is described as “always scared” and “very negative.” Stoller openly admitted that she lacked much support for his dreams. Once when Stoller considered getting a job at Burger King, he said that his mother told him, “yeah, they’re waiting for you.”

How do all of these things impact Stoller’s work? He notes that he is not a failure. He understands his “type.” He has embraced his shmuck-ness. Stoller, while fidgety and nervous, has a remarkably thick skin. Although Stoller names other celebrities in the book, in our interview he suggested that if either of us ever thought of writing a book we may want to consider changing all of the names. We asked if Kathy Griffin ever contacted him, and he laughed, shook his head, and said that she made a reference to the book on her television show basically stating that she had so much sex during the 90s that she really couldn’t remember him.

And with such a demanding career, we were tentative to ask about his love life. With a chuckle, a flustered Stoller said, “How do you get a girl to like you?” He asked. “Be funny?” we answered. He shakes his head, and smiles. “You can’t get a girl to like you; she just has to like you. You can’t work someone, it’s predetermined, like auditions,” he said, “don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Don’t check your phone.” As if remembering a sudden tip, he also stated, “It’s a bad thing if a woman is on her phone looking for the next date on a dating site. When you see that, get out of there.” and he even admitted that that had in fact happened to him. And because he knows Tinsel Town, Stoller specifically addresses dating stars, “If you’re an actor, it’s a catch 22. You want someone not like you and not competitive with you, but other people might not get you.”

As we were leaving, Stoller gave his advice for both the aspiring actor and the average teenager. For the aspiring actors out there he stated, “Class is good, but don’t be a permanent student,” he said with a decisive note in his voice, “you can’t learn to be funny. Trust your feelings. Embrace who and what you are and don’t try too hard to figure out what they are looking for because it’s always going to change. People prey on vulnerable people. Stay away from experts and acting coaches. There are so many self-anointed experts out there; the insecurity is like Facebook times 1000. It’s always ‘me, me, my thing, come to my show’.” And, always the comedian, Stoller, smiled when asked if people in show business are generally narcissistic, then he laughed and responded with a sarcastic, “Oh please.” He recalled advice that Quentin Tarantino had given him on dealing with such people, “If you say there’s a they, you create a they.”

Stoller left us with some parting advice, when questioned on his “greatest regret.” “My greatest regret was giving in to desperation,” he explained, “trust your feeling. You wouldn’t ask someone ‘do I have a headache?’” We feel safe speaking for everyone at the book signing, when we say, Mr. Stoller, we would love to have you back.

Our Guest Bloggers, Laura and Katherine are high school students in La Jolla