What Strange Creatures: What Overwhelming Sadness

What Strange Creatures, the most recent novel written by Emily Arsenault, is a story on the surface of a sister’s quest to prove her brother’s innocence after his girlfriend is found strangled by the roadside. Underneath that plot lies family pain and hardship through relationships that aren’t fulfilling, expectations that were not met, and a […]

Banned Books Week

Think censorship ended with the Banned in Boston days of James Joyce’s Ulysses and D. H. Lawrence‘s Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Think again. Censorship–or attempts to censor–are alive and well. Next week is Banned Books Week. Learn more about efforts to protect our freedom on this page (below) from the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week: Celebrating the […]

Freshly Baked Books: House Reckoning by Mike Lawson

Mike Lawson’s latest Joe DeMarco thriller opens with a Mafia guy saying to his boss, “We got a problem.” And indeed they do. The problem is Gino DeMarco, Joe’s father, who is a hit man for the mob. Gino’s murder by a compromised rookie cop under orders from the mob sets up the rest of […]

The Tie That Wears the Man: Choking Uniformity in I Called Him Necktie

Every day from nine to six, a salaryman sits on a park bench. Unable to tell his wife he’s lost his job, the man boards the same train he has boarded for thirty years, bento box in hand. At noon each day he unwraps the box and slowly, in great contemplation, chews each bite. I […]

Book Distribution—The Only Constant Is Change

How has the internet transformed what we think of as more traditional distribution networks? How has Amazon, the largest online retailer for books, transformed the market? This last post will explore the issues particularly surrounding book distribution networks into the digital age. As of mid-2011, Amazon was the second largest total seller of physical books, […]

Decatur Book Festival 2014

What do Karen Joy Fowler, Ron Rash, US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Barbara Brown Taylor, Joyce Carol Oates, Thrity Umrigar,  Pat Conroy, and scores of others have in common? They  all participated in the Decatur (Georgia) Book Festival this past weekend. The festival claims to be the largest independent book festival in the country. That […]

Two Different Beach Reads: The Drop by Dennis Lehane and The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

When I look at photographs of my parents, I can see how I inherited my eye color from one, my curly hair, the other. I’m convinced that my reading tastes are just as genetic. One of the fixtures in my father’s bathroom was a tub with a copy of a detective novel on its wide […]