Thursday, April 29, 2010

Anchee Min, Pearl of China. A Streaming Audio Odyssey

Anchee Min stopped by the store April 8th, 2010 to chat with her legion of local fans and to sign copies of her new novel, Pearl of China. If you've never seen Anchee Min, you're missing out. Her appearances at Warwick's are legendary, whether she is reading from her work, singing opera, teaching the crowd to dance, or relating her moving personal narrative.

At Warwick's we've always wanted to find a way to bring our events to everyone, even if they can't make it to the store. Our latest experiment is to provide you with a streaming audio archive of our past events. If you click the link below Windows Media Player will open the audio from Anchee Min's book signing.
Listen Now To Anchee Min Discussing Her New Novel Pearl of China From April 8th, 2010

Since we've never done this before we're not sure how valuable it is to you, so please let us know what you think. We can also post the files as Real Media streams in the future and soon we will have a site ready for podcasting. Don't forget, you can also watch video of many of our events over at our channel at YouTube and in higher quality as single files at our new video archive on  Again, let us know what you want to see and how you want it delivered!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Are You Seth? vol.9 or What's New This Week?

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted a round-up of the new releases for the week - and even longer since I posted anything resembling a book recommendation, so I thought, since most of this week's releases (especially the paperback ones) are so decidedly "Seth-friendly", I'd offer a combo deal.  By the way, if you like reading about the new books here on the blog, let me know: either in the comments field, at or just by coming by on the second Tuesday of every month for Coffee with a Bookseller and telling me in person. (Or any day, for that matter.)
  • The 9th Judgment by James Patterson - being the cynical, snobbish jerk that I am, I've been considering a James Patterson-related personal challenge to myself for several months now & I think the time is ripe. Depending on the number of chapters - I assume this will have at least 100 - I will be undertaking somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 Days of James Patterson, during which I will read one chapter a day & post my thoughts on the daily reading to my blog, The Book Catapult. I might chicken out, but for now, I'm doin' it! It's gonna be hilarious. By the way, in between writing or co-writing 5-9 novels each year (last Fall he signed a 17 book, 3 year deal with Hachette), Patterson also watches a lot of movies: check it out.
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende - always a major publication, a huge bestseller, and destined to be a favorite of Jim S. from Warwick's. Here's a summary from Isabel Allende’s triumphant return to historical fiction tells the story of Zarité, a nine-year-old mulatto girl who is sold as a slave in eighteenth-century Santo Domingo. This sweeping novel follows her and other slaves over forty years, telling the story of their exploitation and the miserable conditions of their lives. Adding depth and color to the story are the women who help Zarité survive: Violette, the prostitute; Loula, the businesswoman; the witch Tante Rose; and the plantation cook, Tante Matilde. In Zarité, Isabel Allende has created another of her unforgettable characters: a fighter, a heroine, a woman who will prevail regardless of what the future might hold.
  • Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco - before this debut was even published, it was awarded the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize (the judging panel called it "brilliantly conceived, and stylishly executed" written with "seemingly effortless skill.") and the Grand Prize at the Palanca Awards, the highest literature prize in the Phillipines. C'mon, that's pretty impressive. "It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River - taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate. To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, piecing together Salvador’s story through his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The result is a rich and dramatic family saga of four generations, tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress." I, for one, can't wait to read this.

    New Paperbacks:
  • Zulu by Caryl Ferey - the latest crime novel release from the wonderful Europa Editions. A violent, shocking account of crime in modern South Africa - which is not the happy place we may think it has become in the last decade. From my Book Catapult take: "I think what disturbed me so much was that the violence never felt gratuitous in any way - it just felt real, which is a lot scarier. You learn about halfway through that this is one of those books where no character is safe - just like it would be if this were a true story. Once the gang that (detectives) Ali & Co. are chasing realizes that cops are, in fact, touchable, the whole game is turned on it's head and you really never know what will be lurking in the next set of shadows."
  • The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen - one of my favorite books from last year, now out in paperback. I'm going to plug my other blog again, where I've written about Spivet on several occasions, so forgive me: #2 on the 2009 Catapult Notable List. If you're ever wondering what sort of book is infinitely better in a bound-book format (rather than an e-book one), T.S. Spivet is the perfect example. A masterfully illustrated novel of a wandering genius boy that is unlike anything you have ever read, I guarantee it.
  • Sanctuary by Ken Bruen - I'm a huge Bruen fan, as most Warwick's regulars know, and while I did really like the story to this, the seventh Jack Taylor novel, I was extremely miffed at the large-type, double-spaced, 202-page, $25 hardcover edition that came out last spring. I feel a little better about it as a $13.99 paperback. If you like crime novels and have not read this series, come talk to me.
  • The City and the City by China Mieville - #6 on the 2009 Catapult Notable List. (Like I said, a very "Seth-friendly" week of releases.) The LA Times called this "a Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler love child...raised by Franz Kafka." Here's my "Warwick's Recommends":  "In a style similar to Philip K. Dick or Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music, Mieville expertly blurs genre lines in this science fiction crime novel of a bizarrely divided city. The city is one physical space, but partitioned by an otherworldly division – they merge & blend, but the residents always stay separate, avoiding eye contact, out of a collective fear of the spooky Breach, the overseers of this crazy sociological experiment. But what happens when a woman is murdered in one city, but her body is discovered in the other? There is not much negotiating with Breach, so the politics for Inspector Tyador Borlu are complicated, to say the least. A crazy cool novel."
Don't forget, Coffee with a Bookseller (aka: Coffee with Seth) is on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 10:00am. (Next one is May 11th)  Free coffee, free scones from Brick & Bell, and free book advice! ***Starting with the May edition, anyone in attendance will receive a 20% discount on any of the books I talk about - only good on that day. Pretty sweet!***

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tana French's Dublin

by Heather -
Hordes of people, Guinness, millions of cabs, a university where the tour guides are plucky intellectuals with a keen, if somewhat hokey sense of humor, Guinness, and music, oh, so much music (though predominantly Johnny Cash), so much that you can feel the vibrations from the Temple Bar as you stumble by; this is how I remember Dublin. Did I mention Guinness?

Dark corners, edgy women peering out slyly from behind their shutters, closed doors hiding the thinly veiled secrets of the inhabitants. Man against man, families against themselves, cop against everyone. Streets empty with the vastness of failure, and dysfunction that seeps and crawls its way between homes and through the lips of anyone who speaks. This is the image of Dublin that Tana French creates.

French, the author of In the Woods (winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author), will be releasing her third book revolving around the members of the Dublin Murder Squad in July. French is an amazingly talented writer with the unique aptitude of producing intense character studies within well-plotted, emotionally moving novels of psychological suspense. As readers wait for the July 13th release of Faithful Place, I feel it necessary to bring her talent for writing to the attention of those who have not yet had the fortune of delving into her murky world.

In the Woods is the first of the novels detailing the emotionally wrecking and highly personal cases of Dublin’s finest. It brings to mind the blurred lines and gray areas of right and wrong that pepper the works of notable authors like Dennis Lehane. Following Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox as they delve into the murder of a 12-year-old girl, a case eerily similar to events from Ryan’s shadowed past, In the Woods is a thrilling mystery that absolutely sucks you into its depths. The Likeness takes place six months later and details the psychological fallout and resulting career challenges of Detective Cassie Maddox. My favorite of the two, The Likeness is gripping in its intensity as the readers follow Cassie into an undercover assignment that’s cult-like atmosphere begins to deconstruct Cassie’s thinly veiled mental composure. Both are written with beautiful, often-poetic prose interposed with a jagged, seeping edge of violence that slices through the texts brilliantly.

So, Faithful Place, does it live up to these two bestselling thrillers? Yes! By far the most complex, as it deals with the murky and constantly unstable world or families, Faithful Place follows Detective Frank Mackey, leader of Dublin’s undercover unit, as he investigates a decades old murder that had long-lasting repercussions for both Frank and his family. True to form (as presented by French), Mackey lives on the edge of right and wrong, leaping through various shades of gray as he stealthily moves through the Dublin slums picking apart all of the inhabitants in his search, even if the answers lead him closer to the damaged home and family he escaped twenty years before. According to many of my co-workers, this is it, French’s best work to date and I have to agree, she just keeps getting better.

Now, if you haven’t done so yet, read In the Woods and The Likeness. You have time - until July to be exact. Then, once you’ve reveled in the complex world of Tana French for a while you will be fully prepared for the brilliance that is Faithful Place.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 Pulitzer Prizes

At noon today, the Pulitzer Prize Committee announced their 2010 winners and finalists:

Fiction: Tinkers by Paul Harding
History: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
Biography/Autobiography: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles (also the winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction)
General Nonfiction: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman
Drama: Next to Normal, music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout

I, for one, have never heard of Paul Harding, nor his (debut!) novel, Tinkers, although it is pretty cool that a small, independent, non-profit press like Bellevue Literary has produced such a prestigious award-winner. It beat out National Book Award finalist, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (read & recommended by John. I've read 1/2 of it.) and another book I've never heard of, Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet. (I would've picked the latter, simply on title alone.)  The Tinkers synopsis from the Pulitzer site: "An old man lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.Order your copy now on - it may take awhile, but we will have some.

The best part of this year's awards, however, is in the poetry department - given to Rae Armantrout, writing professor at UCSD, for her collection, Versed. Much congratulations!  From the Pulitzer site: Rae Armantrout has always organized her collections of poetry as though they were works in themselves. Versed brings two of these sequences together, offering readers an expanded view of the arc of her writing. The poems in the first section, Versed, play with vice and versa, the perversity of human consciousness. They flirt with error and delusion, skating on a thin ice that inevitably cracks: “Metaphor forms / a crust / beneath which / the crevasse of each experience.”  Dark Matter, the second section, alludes to more than the unseen substance thought to make up the majority of mass in the universe. The invisible and unknowable are confronted directly as Armantrout's experience with cancer marks these poems with a new austerity, shot through with her signature wit and stark unsentimental thinking. Together, the poems of Versed part us from our assumptions about reality, revealing the gaps and fissures in our emotional and linguistic constructs, showing us ourselves where we are most exposed.

For more on all the winners, check out

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Steinbeck Novel!

Here's the skinny on this week at the 'wick - lots of new fiction, a few notable biographical works, and another full slate of author events.
  • Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott - Lamott's first novel since Blue Shoe brings back some characters from earlier novels and has been getting some great early reviews. PW: "Straddling a line between heartwarming and heartbreaking, this novel is Lamott at her most witty, observant, and psychologically astute."  Even better, Anne will be here on Thursday, April 15th at 7:30!
  • Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller - the new novel from the bestselling author of The Senator's Wife and The World Below.  From the pub: "A powerful love story; a mesmerizing tale of entanglements, connections, and inconsolable losses; a marvelous reflection on the meaning of grace and the uses of sorrow, in life and in art."
  • This Time Together by Carol Burnett - her memoir. I have a feeling this book (and Carol) is going to be everywhere in the coming weeks.
  • The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg - a great book club read: somewhat more cynical than her usual, this novel of reconnecting at a 40th high school reunion deals with the prospect of aging. Berg's other books include Home Safe, The Pull of the Moon, The Year of Pleasures.
  • What Becomes by A.L. Kennedy - a new collection of short stories by the Scottish author, twice named to Granta's list of Best Young British Writers. Starred reviews from Kirkus ("Sensitively observed, elegantly written snapshots of the human condition") and Publisher's Weekly.
  • In the Shadow of the Cypress by Thomas Steinbeck - the second novel by John's son.  Set in...Monterey, California, this novel is about the communities of Chinese immigrants living there. Centering on 3 men from various time periods of Chinese life on the California coast, Booklist called it "upbeat, captivating, provocative, and classy." It also has an awesome cover.
  • The Bridge: The Life & Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick - Remnick is a Pulitzer Prize winner & editor of the New Yorker - this is his entry into the Barack Obama biography sweepstakes.  I think Remnick's sheer writing ability will make this more interesting than most. Jon Meacham from Newsweek wrote that "Remnick's biography depends not on nuggets (of information) but on his characteristically dispassionate, richly observed assessment of his subject. Without sermonizing or sentimentalizing, Remnick sheds light on the complicated role of race in Obama's rise and victory and, perhaps most relevantly, in the conduct of his presidency."
  • In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn By Heart by Alice Waters - every new book from sustainable food guru Alice Waters is a major big deal. This is a step-by-step guide to how she cooks - with 50 recipes that highlight fresh, local flavors.
  • Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters by Max Hardberger - c'mon, admit you're a little bit hooked by that subtitle! Pirates!

New in paperback:  How it Ended: New & Collected Stories by Jay "Bright Lights, Big City" McInerney.

Steve Poizner, Monday - Mount Pleasant
Jason Shiga, Tuesday afternoon - Meanwhile
David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth, Tuesday night - What's Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?)
Anchee Min, Thursday night - Pearl of China

Just a reminder:  Coffee with a Bookseller, April Edition is coming up - Tuesday, April 13 at 10am. See you there!