I picked up a few books while I was at the ALA conference a week ago. As a librarian, I spent most of my time in sessions, at ceremonies (I was inducted into an honor society!), or chatting with vendors. I didn't really get a chance to hit the floor and look at books until the last day of the conference. I was able to pick up a few ARCs, but the majority of books were purchased. Fortunately, purchases at ALA on the last day of conference are deeply discounted!
My thanks go most especially to Penguin for the wonderful selection of books they brought with them to the conference and to the generous discounts they provided.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Greenwich Village, 1937, jazz, a chance encounter and the upper echelons of New York society feature in this novel by Amor Towles. Sounds like a fantastic period piece!
The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan
"A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances. The Odds is a reminder that love, like life is always a gamble" (from the book flap). I'm intrigued by the Niagra Falls setting and hope the story is beautiful rather than depressing.
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
"Welcome to Chromaticia, where the Colortocracy rules society through a social hierarchy based upon one's limited color perception. In this world, you are what you can see" (from back cover of book). The Tuesday Next books have been so much fun! Hope this new series by Fforde is just as funny.
Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
Story about the Titanic published by Europa. I'm not familiar with the author, but I am familiar with the publisher so thought I'd give this one a try. "This remarkable, haunting tale reaffirms Bainbridge's lofty reputation as a consummate observer of the human condition" (from the book flap).
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Have I read A Discovery of Witches yet? No. But could I say no when the publisher pushed this ARC into my hands at ALA? Of course not! I did not know that the author is also a history professor at USC. Did you?
The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
"Fans of Downton Abbey and Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden will absolutely adore The House at Tyneford" (from the book cover). Do I need to explain why I picked this book up?
The Widow's Daughter by Nicholas Edlin
"Spellbinding Story of love, war, and betrayal" (from the back cover). The synopsis leads me to believe this debut novel will be a mystery and a love story of epic proportions. We'll see, won't we?
The Orphan Master by Jean Zimmerman
Described on the back of the book as a "gripping historical thriller set in seventeenth-century Manhattan." This was another ARC pushed into my hands by the publisher at ALA. I think they liked me at the Penguin booth!
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
A "riveting, exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family" (from the back cover). I couldn't believe I actually got an ARC of this Erdrich book. This one shall happily join my collection of Louise Erdrich novels. Yes, I am an Erdrich fan.
Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
I like what Michael Ondaatje has to say about Banks: "I trust his portrait of America more than any other - the burden of it, the need for it, the hell of it." This one sounds like noir which is not my favorite, but it was a lovely finished copy that the publisher gave to me so I thought I'd try it.
Intruder by C.J. Cherryh
Wonderful science fiction. This title is part of the Foreigner series. I bought this one for my husband, but I'm sure I'll be reading it too.
Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
"When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, a cryptic picture message from their mother leads young sisters Summer and Bird through a familiar gate and into the woods where the sad, electric song of a tiny patchwork bird draws them Down. In this ruined, frozen world of birds, their divided hearts will lead them in very different directions in a quest toward united goals: vanquish the ravenous, bird-swallowing Puppeteer and reveal the true heir to the swan queen's throne" (from the back cover). This is the only young reader/YA novel I picked up at ALA. The cover on this ARC is absolutely lovely. I would have picked it up for that alone, but the promise of a magical story makes it all the more appealing.
Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnett
"Our personal libraries reveal our true nature. Far more than just places, they are living labyrinths of our innermost feelings" (from the book flap). Who doesn't like books about books? Well, some may not care for this category but I generally enjoy it. This is one of two non-fiction books I picked up at ALA.
Too Big to Know by David Weinberger
Weinberger can be described as a philosopher. He is also a Senior Researcher at Harvard University's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. He is also the author of Everything is Miscellaneous. I attended his lecture, at ALA, on the concepts of knowledge ... and IT WAS AWESOME! Of course I stood in line to get a signed copy of Too Big to Know.