I spent a leisurely morning at Books-A-Million with a caramel macchiato and a wandering eye. I felt the need for a little readerly retail therapy, and I quickly found myself with an armload of books and a lot of whittling down to do.
Books I sampled and have my eye on:
Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow - "An ancient race of lycanthropes has survived to the present day, and its numbers are growing as the initiated convince L.A.'s down and out to join their pack. Paying no heed to moons, full or otherwise, they change from human to canine at will — and they're bent on domination at any cost. Caught in the middle are Anthony, a kind-hearted, besotted dogcatcher, and the girl he loves, a female werewolf who has abandoned her pack. Anthony has no idea that she's more than she seems, and she wants to keep it that way. But her efforts to protect her secret lead to murderous results. Blending dark humor and epic themes with card-playing dogs, crystal meth labs, surfing, and carne asada tacos, Sharp Teeth captures the pace and feel of a graphic novel while remaining "as ambitious as any literary novel, because underneath all that fur, it's about identity, community, love, death, and all the things we want our books to be about."
I'm interested in this one on two levels: it sounds like an odd, quirky, unusually interesting story. But on a wholly structural level, the book looks fascinating. It's written in a free verse poetry form, and I'm pretty interested in Nick Hornby's comparison of the book to a graphic novel (above). There are no pictures, mind you, but to my understanding from an NPR interview, the pace with which the book moves as a result of the verse style is much like a graphic novel. I can't wait to give this one a go.
Green, Greener, Greenest, by Lori Bongiorno - "The perfect guide to help readers decide how to best spend their time and money to protect the environment, Green, Greener, Greenest offers flexible tips for everyday living, all categorized as green, greener, and greenest. Cutting through the labeling and the hype, it helps readers choose the advice that fits their schedule, their budget, and their interests, with the understanding that there's never one right way to make a difference. This indispensable resource will grow with readers-whether a novice in green living or a veteran environmentalist-as their interests and needs change over time."
I like this book because it's broken down by degrees. I'm interested in moving from what I do now to be green into a progressively greener lifestyle. I also appreciate the straightforward facts. The bit I read this morning was about organic foods and how they're categorized as such. The book gives tips on the right types of questions to ask to cut through all the mumbo-jumbo and get to the heart of exactly how green foods, products, etc. really are.
Moral Disorder and Other Stories, by Margaret Atwood - "Margaret Atwood's latest brilliant collection of short stories follows the life of a single character, seen as a girl growing up the 1930s, a young woman in the 50s and 60s, and, in the present day, half of a couple, no longer young, reflecting on the new state of the world. Each story focuses on the ways relationships transform a character's life: a woman's complex love for a married man, the grief upon the death of parents and the joy with the birth of children, the realization of what growing old with someone you love really means."
In the tradition of my short story obsession, I nearly bought this book. I have yet to read Atwood's short stories, but I have no doubt they're fantastic.
Watch for a review of To Kill a Mockingbird this afternoon or this evening. It's SO GOOD!