Saturday, May 22, 2010

Greetings from Three Lives & Company,

What better time than now to pick up a new book and kick back, as the days grow longer and the temperature slowly rises? That's what we're all trying to do!

We are also delighted at the news that Tinkers by Paul Harding won the Pulitzer Prize last month, a staff favorite back when it came out a year ago. As we said in our Spring 2009 newsletter, Tinkers is "beautifully evocative, a small gem of a first novel." And congratulations to Bellevue Literary Press, the first small press to win the Pulitzer Prize in almost thirty years.

The excitement grows here at the shop as the 19th World Cup swiftly approaches, commencing in South Africa in twenty-one days on June 11! Keep a look out for our "World Cup" table, which will feature a wide variety of soccer themed fiction and non-fiction, as well as South African fiction. We'll be keeping close tabs on the tournament throughout the month, so stop by to take a look at the books, or just to chat about the latest scores. But before all that madness begins, we'll leave you with a little Emily Dickinson:

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.

Happy reading.


Although of Course You End up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace
David Lipsky
Whether you're already a David Foster Wallace fan or have always meant to read something of his to find out what all the fuss is about, this new paperback is just the ticket: it's a consistently entertaining and insightful, often funny, and ultimately quite profound account of five days Wallace and David Lipsky spent together on the road. Most of the dialogue is transcribed from recordings, which makes for an intimate reading experience: you have the sense of being an invisible companion listening in, as two really, really smart and engaged people talk about....just about everything. I found myself writing out a list of books, movies, articles, and people that they talked about and that I wanted to follow up on (although you can save yourself the trouble as there's a glossary in the back). I guarantee that you, too, will be looking to learn more about the many topics that crop up and about David Foster Wallace himself after you finish reading the book. I've rented movies and read books and articles I would never have thought to pursue, and am glad I did. This is one of the rare books that's perfect for just about any reading mood you're in. (Broadway)

The Pregnant Widow

Martin Amis
While not exactly a serious novel, Martin Amis' latest is certainly a real romp, in this case literally both in the sack and the Italian countryside. An utterly enjoyable musing on the summer of '70, The Pregnant Widow is led by the protagonist Keith, a precociously literary twenty year old, who, along with the jolly cast of characters, seeks to add to his so far slight sexual canon. His and his contemporaries' exploits make for some very titillating scenes and situations made all the better with talk of breasts, behinds, and monokinis. What else are these adolescents to do when they've got an entire summer to spend in a villa, and the girls are all starting to act like boys? Keith won't simply sit still pool side with his English novels in hand. (Knopf)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is one of those fascinating non-fiction reads that's about so many issues and is so engagingly written that you'll want to keep talking about it. Rebecca Skloot is a first-rate journalist who writes with immediacy and compassion about the bonds of family, the use and misuse of medical science, the nature of inquiry, the impact of race and class in the United States, and the struggle of love, faith and hope over greed. This is the story of a desperately sick, impoverished African American woman and her cancer cells, which enabled the launch of a multi-million dollar biomedical industry and became some of the most important tools in modern medicine. These cells were taken without Henrietta Lacks ever knowing or living to learn about their impact, and without anyone other than her immediate friends and family ever even knowing she made this modern medicine possible. Thanks to Skloot's tireless work, we may finally have a true and utterly compelling understanding of just what we owe to Lacks and her family. (Crown)

Even the Dogs

Jon McGregor
I'm a huge Jon McGregor fan and would read anything he wrote. His new novel, Even the Dogs, like his two previous books, did not disappoint. A very intense view into the world of drug addiction and abuse, the story is narrated by a group of friends, now dead, who are holding vigil over the body of a friend who has also been found dead in his apartment. As the story unfolds and you discover what happened to these people, you get sucked into their world via McGregor's lyrical prose. I can't wait to read what he writes next.


Dave Cullen
Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, the analyses of federal psychologists and criminologists, and the personal tapes and diaries of the killers themselves, Dave Cullen presents us with a riveting close-up portrait of a shocking act of violence, and the police blunders and cover-ups both before and after the massacre, which unfolded live on national television on April 20, 1999. Listed as either "best" or "favorite" non-fiction book of the year by the New York Times,, Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and many other media sources, the book is now available in paperback. A true-crime page-turner. (Twelve)

The Way of the World

Nicolas Bouvier
Originally published in French in 1963, Nicolas Bouvier's memoir of his 1953, Fiat driven trek through Eastern Europe and the Middle East is a lyrical and lucid account of the timeless nature of what happens when different cultures interact regardless of the events surrounding them. This account of the trip, which Bouvier embarked on with his then-twenty-five-year-old friend, is a gem in the travel writing genre, a book to be read equally for its humanity, humor, passion, and curiosity. (New York Review of Books)

Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit

Krista Tippett
In this series of interviews, which are drawn from American Public Media's Peabody Award-winning program Speaking of Faith, Krista Trippett demonstrates that both science and religion benefit from a genuine dialogue. Tippett describes science and religion as “pursuits of cohesive knowledge and underlying truths,” and seeks to dispel the erroneous assumption that these two realms of inquiry are in opposition. Whether she is in discussion with Sherwin Nuland, Freeman Dyson, or Mehmet Oz, Tippett is consistently probing, measured, and illuminating. (Penguin)

The House of Tomorrow

Peter Bognanni
This first novel is a coming of age story set in a small town in Iowa, where our hero (and I did think of him as a hero), Sebastian, lives in a geodesic dome with his grandmother, who has home schooled him based on the teachings of her idol, R. Buckminster Fuller. Circumstances lead to his meeting and befriending another local teen, who, for different reasons, shares his need to fit in. So, of course, they form a punk rock band. This story of music, first love, and friendship felt so real to me, in spite of all of its quirkiness. I found myself rooting for the characters and not wanting the book to end. (Putnam)

The Help
Kathryn Stockett
For those of you out there who have yet to read this book (I know there must be some!), I can vouch for it. It was great! Alternately narrated by two African American maids and one young white woman, it's the story of life in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. It's good on many levels: as a commentary on race in America, as an un-put-down-able soap opera style narrative and, ultimately, as a story of friendship and our common bonds as human beings in this world. It would make an excellent vacation book. (Putnam)

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NY NY 10014

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