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The Bookshelf

“On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan. A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms, they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence’ s response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence’s anxieties run deeper – she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact but dreads disappointing her husband. Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. “On Chesil Beach” is another master work from McEwan, a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

“Still Life” by Louise Penny. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet, a world away. Jane Neal, a longtime resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bow hunter. With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces with power, ingenuity and charm. This cerebral mystery is a rare treat. (New in mass market paper)

“Four Seasons in Rome” by Anthony Doerr. Anthony Doerr has received many awards – from the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Library Association. Then came the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins. Exquisitely observed, “Four Seasons in Rome” describes Doerr’s varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats, the chroniclers of Rome who came before him, and visits the piazzas, temples and ancient cisterns they describe. The butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood – whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself – embrace him and his family. This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood and a fascinating story of a writer’s craft, the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences.

“Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar… : Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes” by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein. Finally, a crash course in philosophy via jokes. Gags really do explain the meaning of it all in this lively book loaded with one-liners, vaudeville humor, cartoons and even a limerick or two. Harvard philosophy majors Tom Cathcart and Dan Klein are your emcees on this hilarious yet profound tour de farce through Western philosophy. Here is a not-so-reverent crash course through the great philosophical traditions, schools, concepts and thinkers. It’s Philosophy 101 for those who know not to take all this heavy stuff too seriously.

“Emma Lea’s First Tea Party” by Babette Donaldson & Jerianne Van Dijk. Emma Lea is excited to attend the annual tea party with the ladies of her family to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. She dresses up for the special occasion like her mother and three aunts. The table is elegantly set with grammy’s finest china and trays of teacakes and sandwiches as Emma Lea and her mother arrive. But Emma Lea brings some new twists to the old tradition. Now everyone will look forward to next year’s tea party even more. Donaldson’s story and Van Dijk’s watercolor illustrations are charming. Join the author and illustrator for a tea party at The Book Seller on June 23. (Ages 6-10)


Compiled by manager Susan Beck at The Book Seller, 107 Mill Street, Grass Valley, 272-2131. Hours are Mon. through Fri. 9:30 a.m. Ð 7 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m. Ð 5:30 p.m., and 11 a.m. Ð 4 p.m. Sunday.

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