Memorial Day Weekend Reading: "Rivers"


We were very excited to see one of John Keene's stories featured as a VICE ExclusiveCounternarratives is a phenomenal, provocative book, and "Rivers" stands out immediately as one of the stories that will be most discussed. Do yourself a favor and read it over the holiday weekend. 

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," proclaimed Ernest Hemingway, one of the book's most notable champions, in 1935. In more recent times, Toni Morrison wrote that Twain's picaresque is an "amazing, troubling book," one that caused her no shortage of rage and feelings of complicity, before concluding that the book is "classic literature, in that it heaves, manifests, and lasts." John Keene's magnificent story of speculative fiction picks up from Twain's classic American novel, 40 years later, with civil war veteran Jim relating his life since that fateful raft ride down the Mississippi."


A Different Sort of March Madness


It's funny . . . the longer the days become, the quicker they seem to pass. How on earth is the Tournament of Books already up to the second round?!? There's still plenty of time to jump aboard for the semifinals and onward -- not to mention to jeer & cheer the results of the previous weeks' selections. If I was a betting man, my money'd be on a nip & tuck final between Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings and Elena Ferrante's Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. I'll keep my championship pick close to the chest for now, though. 

What about you? Who are you cheering for? mourning? feeling was unjustly booted? 

Excitable Bookselling: On Helen MacDonald's H IS FOR HAWK


If you’ve been in the store the past week or so you’ve heard us gushing over Helen MacDonald’s tremendous new book, H is for Hawk. Brad at the Oakland store, in particular, has turned talking to people about the book into a mixed-martial-art submission move. He's a little excitable sometimes. In any event, we love seeing debut authors come out of the gate so strong, and are very excited to see the New York Times is slowly catching up with our level of enthusiasm. 

"Paste in the video! Paste in the video!" Brad is screeching. So, here goes: