August 2014

Dear Reader,

Have you been reading as much as you'd like this summer? Do you want this season to not rush into fall? Reading expands time; gives you back your mind, your heart, and your spirit; and recharges you with the shared imaginations of others. It reconnects you with the fact that we are all connected. It foregrounds this lived dream called life and allows the whole experience of all your faculties, syncing them up for further, full living. So, postpone no longer, and pick up that book you've been meaning to get to. Your whole world will silently thank you for answering that quiet need to be fully human again.

Happy Reading,
John & all Dieselfolk

Staff Pick Badge
Euphoria Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802122551
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - June 3rd, 2014

Lily King takes us on a ride up the Sepik River into the Papua New Guinea rain forest. It's the 1930s. A British anthropologist meets an Australian/American anthropologist couple who needs to find a new tribe to study. As he helps them settle in, their lives become entwined: he loves her who loves him who loves him. A big question is whether cultural differences are more important than individual differences in determining who we are. They think they know the answers, but perhaps they cannot understand themselves as they think they understand the natives. Strong characters with an excellent plot in an exotic setting make for great reading. -- Alan Dishman

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Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062267405
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ecco - May 27th, 2014

Bringing all the giddy humor, big-heartedness, specific density memory, and valiant wordplay of his novels to this non-memoir memoir, Robbins wows us again. This time it is the vividly remembered arc of his life, told in associationally gathered vignettes. The accumulation of events of synchrony, delight, impulse, exploration, and sheer imagination is inspiring in its fullness, energy, and visionary humanity. This is a perfect summer read. -- John Evans

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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476746586
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - May 6th, 2014

This is an exquisite novel set in Saint Malo, France, and Germany during the second World War. The story is told from the alternate perspectives of Marie-Laure, the blind daughter of a master locksmith, and Werner, an orphan and electronics prodigy who is being trained by the Gestapo. All of the harrowing elements of a Holocaust novel are found here. There are heart-in-throat moments hoping that those hidden remain undetected, and the wish that those, like Werner, taken as children to be trained as a Nazi will somehow retain a sense of compassion and humanity. As the title suggests, Doerr plays with the themes of the visible and the unseen in several ways, including the subversive nature of radio, which ultimately helped end the war. Doerr has won the Pushcart and O Henry Prizes several times and is a master of the craft. -- Mia Wigmore

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The Myth of Wu Tao-Tzu Cover Image
ISBN: 9781847085221
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Granta Books - January 10th, 2014

In a hundred pages, Lindqvist moves elegantly from meditations on the power of art to the problems of social inequality. As a young man, Lindqvist is entranced by the myth of the Tang dynasty painter, Wu Tao-tzu, who according to legend physically entered his own painting. Lindqvist sees in this myth a powerful metaphor for the ability, the duty even, of the artist to succumb to the power of art. In an effort more fully to understand, Lindqvist travels to China, where he learns, through the rigorous discipline of Chinese calligraphy, the unique ability to lose the ego, which is to find that moment when "with one strong blow, as if from the tail of a fish, your self vanishes." However, his travels also force him to confront what is only so often heard about: the unimaginable squalor of a massive portion of Earth's population. Here are people neglected, because to acknowledge them is uncomfortable; ignored because of the inability to change their plight; tolerated with a dose of callous indifference; or worse yet, blamed for their own fate. Through gorgeous language and striking imagery, this part-philosophical inquiry, part-travelogue, part-moral coming-of-age story, Lindqvist explores the purpose of art in a world of suffering. -- Chris Phipps

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Norwegian by Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544292666
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 6th, 2014

This debut novel is pitch perfect on any number of levels. On the surface a Scandanavian crime novel, it's wrapped around a book filled with heart, laugh-aloud humor, and asks lots of life-questions large and small. Meet the unforgettable Sheldon Horowitz, our curmudgeonly, octogenarian watchmaker. He has agreed to leave his home in New York and live with his granddaughter and her husband in Oslo after the death of his wife. A former Marine sniper during the Korean Conflict, he has lost his son to the Vietnam War. Sheldon's deep scars from those experiences are beautifully woven into the novel's themes of time and war. When Sheldon witnesses a neighbor's murder, he feels morally compelled first to hide, and then to flee with the victim's eight-year-old son to keep him from danger. Their flight through Norway will make you laugh, cry and, yes, even bond with these two. This is truly a wonderful read that's a thriller, a caper, a thoughtful piece about fathers and sons, past wars, present societal issues and what it is to live a life well. -- Pam Stirling

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The Shadow Hero Cover Image
By Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781596436978
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - July 15th, 2014

The Shadow Hero is fantastic in that it works both as a fun comic book adventure and an interesting meta commentary on comics in general. The book also comments on the socio-political atmosphere of the 1940s that originally produced this particular hero. It's an exciting, action-packed story, but one that, especially when you read Yang's closing essay, you really want to mull over. I really admire Yang for tackling issues of racism in an accessible yet completely unflinching way. It's so impressive to find a graphic novel with both a fun story and real substance. -- Anna Kaufman

Staff Pick Badge
Francesca Woodman: Works from the Sammlung Verbund Cover Image
By Francesca Woodman (Photographer), Gabriele Schor (Editor), Elisabeth Bronfen (Editor)
ISBN: 9781938922411
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Distributed Art Publishers (DAP) - June 30th, 2014

The photography of Francesca Woodman leaves me nearly speechless. She defies adequate review, which no doubt contributes to her enduring myth and appeal. The rawness of her vision, of herself and her world, is never quite contained by her technique, which is prodigious. It is, I think, this coarse, uncontained remainder that haunts us. To spend time with her photography is to converse with ghosts . . . who talk back. -- Brad Johnson