Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some Recent Favorites

Two recent arrivals and one perennial bestseller:

The Rebar Cookbook, by Audrey Alsterburg and Wanda Urbanowicz. Vegetarian recipes from the celebrated Victoria BC cafe, many drawing freely from Asian and pan-Asian cuisines. Simple ingredient lists and straight forward preparations make this a book you'll actually cook from, and not just leave lying out on the coffee table. #3 on our in-house bestseller list, and the most popular cookbook we've ever carried, easily beating out the New Moosewood and Julia Child.

Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. Winner of the 2009 National Book Award. Kaleidoscopic, densely-written novel that begins with Philippe Petit's famous 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers and then fractures into several different narratives that move forward in time to the aftermath of 9/11; reminiscent of Joseph O'Neill's Netherland and DeLillo's Underworld.

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. Winner of the 2009 Booker Prize. 700-odd page fictionalized account of the life of Thomas Cromwell, by one of England's best living prose stylists. Murders; courtly intrigue; adultery and political scheming, like an upmarket version of The Tudors or George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice. Mantel is also the author of Beyond Black, a terrific novel set in Thatcherite Britain, about a female psychic, her best friend, and the malevolent spirits that restlessly hound both of them. Beyond Black is reminiscent of Twin Peaks: nominally realist, but occasionally veering into black comedy or full-on horror, and, like Wolf Hall, comes highly recommended. But don't just take my word for it.