The bookshelf |

The bookshelf

“Bridge of Sighs” by Richard Russo. With the same humor and pathos that turned “Empire Falls” into a bestseller, Russo’s latest tale unravels the tangled skein of love, regret, hope and longing that wraps itself around friends and family in a small upstate New York town. Russo’s multigenerational tale follows the fortunes of two families, especially the careers of the respective sons. Although Louis Charles Lynch and Bobby Marconi come from very different backgrounds, they bond over Bobby’s defense of Lou in elementary school. As they grow older, they drift apart, with Bobby changing his name to Robert Noonan and moving to Venice, where he becomes a world-famous artist. Louis stays in Thomaston, marries high school sweetheart Sarah, and helps out his family in their grocery store. Although Louis reluctantly agrees to visit Venice with Sarah, several events converge to alter their plans, and their lives change in ways that neither could have anticipated. Russo’s novel is a winning story of the strange ways that parents and children, lovers and friends connect and thrive.

“Brush with Death: An Art Lover’s Mystery” by Hailey Lind. The art world is murder in this witty and entertaining mystery. Since she went legit, Annie Kincaid has been applying her genius for fine-art forgery to her own faux-finishing business in San Francisco. She hasn’t seen the inside of a jail cell since she was 17, although sometimes is takes all of her arts, fine or otherwise, to keep it that way. In this third tale in the Art Lover’s Mystery series Annie Kincaid hopes that if she can help return an alleged masterpiece to Italy, her sketchy reputation will finally be redeemed. But when a sexy art thief and murder enter the picture, Annie realizes that it won’t be so easy to put things to rest. Lind’s latest creatively combines mystery; humor; and interesting art tidbits to create a fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable novel.

“Bird Songs from Around the World” by Les Beletsky. “Bird Songs from Around the World,” an international sequel to the acclaimed “Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song,” gathers singular birds from six continents in a gorgeous new volume. Drawing from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s renowned Macaulay Library collection, this new book features a sleek, digital audio module housing 200 songs and calls of the world’s most notable birds, allowing you to hear sounds like the rollicking cadence of South America’s Helmeted Manakin or the alarm call of an Asian Fairy bluebird. Celebrated bird biologist Les Beletsky provides a succinct account of each species’ distinguishing features with an emphasis on the unique vocalizations. Complete with richly drawn portraits of each bird plus lavish spreads depicting scenes from each region, this dynamic book brings birds from distant lands to life in your living room.

“The Hypocrisy of Disco” by Clane Hayward. Growing up on hippie communes across the West, Clane Hayward dreamed of having a normal life – white bread, matching clothes and the opportunity to go to school every day. And she wanted a normal name, like Lisa or Chardonnay. But Clane’s young life was random and kaleidoscopic, with a shifting assortment of friends and siblings; her bong-puffing, Buddha-quoting, macrobiotic mother; and her wild-haired, redneck father. Clane found a world she could rely on in her imagination and in the pages of scavenged books and a Sears catalog. In this poignant, funny and always riveting memoir, Clane recounts her extraordinary life up to her 13th birthday. Honest, vivid and unforgettable, it is also a remarkable tribute to the resilience of youth.

“Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” by John Elder Robison. “Look Me in the Eye” is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes readers inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regard as defective. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account – sometimes alien yet always deeply human. Robison’s thoughtful and thoroughly memorable account of living with Asperger’s syndrome is assured of attention due in part to his brother Augusten Burroughs’ brief but fascinating description of Robison in “Running with Scissors.” Robison succeeds in his goal of helping those who are struggling to grow up or live with Asperger’s to see how it is not a disease but a way of being that needs no cure except understanding and encouragement from others.


Compiled by manager Susan Beck at The Book Seller, 107 Mill Street, Grass Valley, 272-2131. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.Ð5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. Ð 4 p.m.

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