May 2012

Stalks

Dear Reader,

May Day is that most hopeful of holidays: the height of spring, the beginning of summer, the celebration and honoring of labor. Full of possibility and change. Coming off of 30 days of poetry videos in the spirit of Poetry Month, and the first International Jazz Day on April 30th, why not take a minute to remember the labor, love, discipline, and creative abandon of the arts: of music, of vision, of food, of thought, of the heart and soul.

The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I'll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown'd it.

-- Robert Herrick, "The Maypole," 1660 


Happy May Day!
John and all Dieselfolk

 

Staff Pick Badge
The Submission: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250007575
Availability: Not On Our Shelves - Available within 1 to 5 Days
Published: Picador - March 27th, 2012

It may sometimes seem like there's already plenty of 9/11 novels out there, but watch out for Amy Waldman's The Submission! If you're looking for a novel you just can't put down or a thoroughly discussable book club book, trust me on this one.

This post-9/11 thriller packs an incredibly powerful punch. Two years after the tragedy, architects are encouraged to submit their plans and designs for a potential memorial at the site of the World Trade Center, and to make their submissions anonymous. A jury of Manhattan elite, who are to select the entry that is most appealing, are shocked to learn that the design they have agreed upon was submitted by a Muslim -- though American by birth, his name, Mohammed, makes his cultural background instantly apparent. Before they even get a chance to discuss the potential outrage this may cause, the story is leaked to the press. This leaves everyone totally unprepared to deal with all the controversies, politics, grief, and prejudice that arrive in just a short time.

As each day goes by, things just get worse and worse, as special interest groups become involved and begin making tactical moves. The media starts to add fuel to the rumors, taking sides rather than simply reporting the news as it unfolds. The character Claire, a member of the selection jury as well as the widow of one of the victims, becomes a victim herself, suffering harassment from a young man whose brother died in the tragedy. Meanwhile, a young Bangladeshi widow who lost her husband, a janitor in one of the buildings, is left with no support or help available to her due to her husband's illegal status, his employer even denying that he worked there. Things increase in intensity as these causes and characters begin to meld together. My book club spent an hour and a half discussing this one. All in all, The Submission is a page-turning -- and I mean "awake until 2 a.m." -- read. Definitely do not miss The Submission! -- Linda Grana


Staff Pick Badge
Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781608681099
Availability: Not On Our Shelves - Available within 1 to 5 Days
Published: New World Library - April 17th, 2012

Campbell's influence on writers, artists, and, of course, filmmakers, is legendary and very real. Like the work itself, his effects are unmeasurable, hovering as they do at the edges of myth, science, imagination, history, and culture. Myths of Light is a masterful selection of essays and lectures, focusing on the themes, strands, and stories that unite eastern spirituality and myth. It is fascinating, delightful, and prompting, delivered in his enthusiastic, storytelling mode. First published in 2003 in hardback, this new paperback edition will reach a wider audience and, who knows, maybe catalyze a few new mythic creations along the way. -- John Evans


Staff Pick Badge
The Family Fang: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061579059
Availability: Not On Our Shelves - Available within 1 to 5 Days
Published: Ecco - April 17th, 2012

For anyone who has ever been embarrassed by their parents, this one is for you. Your heart goes out to this sibling duo, who are trying to best define their lives and forge their own paths despite the shadow of humiliation cast by the outlandish escapades they endured as a result of their parents' "art." Kevin Wilson's debut novel is clever and funny, but not without its cringing, "I-can't-believe-they did-that!" moments. The parameters of family life are pushed to the limit, but how far is too far? It all depends on your perspective and objective, but I think you will be in for a surprise. This is dysfunctional family living at its most artistic. -- Cheryl Ryan


Staff Pick Badge
Now and Then: The Cabinet Card Paintings of Alex Gross Cover Image
By Alex Gross (Other)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781584234876
Availability: Not On Our Shelves - Available within 1 to 5 Days
Published: Gingko Press - February 1st, 2012

Alex Gross takes old, antique photographs and mercilessly vandalizes them. This defacement transforms these poor, hapless, long-dead individuals into modern pop-culture icons or bizarre creatures that have the faces of ancient people. Both inspired and hilarious, Now and Then is a perfect touch of weirdness for a boring day. -- Joey Puente