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Bob

BOB
Bob loves contemporary fiction augmented by an occasional mystery or science fiction novel. Non-fiction interests include physics, math, medicine, economics and anything by Malcolm Gladwell. When not watching ER or West Wing with Gayle, he indulges himself in Shakespeare, always willing to watch yet another version of Hamlet. And there's a dozen podcasts from NPR including Selected Shorts, Studio 360, On the Media, NYT Book Review, Writer's Almanac and the monthly short story from the New Yorker.

The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 13th, 1998

Everyone I knew read this excellent novel in the 80s. Except me. But after hearing Margaret Atwood interviewed last week, I knew it was time--devoured it in 3 days, non-stop. Atwood just wrote a new intro for it in 2017 in which she relates what we're experiencing "in the wake of the recent American election" to the conditions that led up to the dystopia she depicts so brilliantly in The Handmaid's Tale. To see what she envisioned now playing itself out in our lives is both scary and essential if we are to resist and derail such a future while there's still time. As one reviewer advised, "Read it while it's still allowed." PS--the intro contains spoilers. Save it for last. 


Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781455540419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - May 30th, 2017

The hard-working and brilliant Senator and former comedian finally releases his humorous self from the cage he’s had it locked within during his first 8 years in congress. This moving and witty memoir was hidden from his staff until just before its release so they wouldn’t talk him out of publishing it.


Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594206139
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - May 23rd, 2017

A well-researched, very readable book about the 30’s and 40’s when fascism was on the rise. Although they came from opposite ends of the political and economic spectrum, together they were leading voices of anti-fascism in those years. I learned that Churchill, although a key factor in overcoming the Nazi war machine and a personage to whom we are deeply indebted for our freedom, had some serious defects in his personality.


A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780618056750
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - April 20th, 2000

Published in '83, this delightful book, found on vacation at a used bookstore, is much more than a travel book. While in Sri Lanka the author first began to think of visiting this remote Himalayan Buddhist country after conversations with an elderly German painter who had become a Buddhist monk. Writing skill and brilliant insights enhance this chronicle of his search for the nature and wisdom of the people of Ladakh. It includes many often hilarious vignettes of his fellow pilgrims and this advice from an aging Rinpoche: "If you truly love all things, you will want to become perfect, so that you can be of help to them. You should meditate on this. It is the beginning."


11/22/63 Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781451627299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - July 24th, 2012

This is Stephen King's time travel story of a high-school English teacher who finds himself persuaded to go back to the late 50s in order to prevent the assassination of President JFK. I was 20 years old on that day in '63 and the trauma, though faded, still occasionally evokes tears. So I picked up a copy of the novel one day and finished the first chapter on a break. Never having read King before, I was impressed with his skill at story telling. Actually, I was totally hooked and loving it after 900 more pages.


The Late Show Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316225984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - July 18th, 2017

This is one of his best. As a crime reporter for the LA Times, Connolly has extensive knowledge of LAPD procedures and of the tensions cops experience. The hero, Renee Ballard, stays true to her values, jeopardizing her career by refusing to be sidelined, believing only she can bring a certain pair of violent perpetrators to justice. Her love for her Hawaiian grandmother and her faithful dog, humanize this delightfully flawed heroine. Couldn't put it down and I'm hoping he writes more Ballard mysteries.

I listened to this as an audiobook from Libro.fm, the indie bookstore's alternative to Amazon's Audible. Ask any staff member or visit our website to learn about listening to digital audio from Libro.fm.


The Power and the Glory Cover Image
By Graham Greene, John Updike (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143107552
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 24th, 2015

It's a time when Catholic churches in Mexico are burned, crosses banned and disobedience means death. All the priests have renounced or fled except for one "Whiskey Priest" who has many failings but emerges as a person willing to sacrifice himself to serve others. Hunted relentlessly by a police lieutenant, the priest is often hidden by the poor at great peril to themselves. TIME magazine's pick as one of the 100 best in the English language since 1923, this novel shows a richer way to think about faith, one which I find more accessible than the romantic narratives about belief.

I listened to this as an audiobook from Libro.fm, the indie alternative to Audible/Amazon. The narrator, Bernard Mayes, was excellent. Ask any staff member how you can download audiobooks from Libro.fm.


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Lincoln in the Bardo Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812995343
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 14th, 2017

​The audiobook version is narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Lena Dunham and others. Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln are grieving the death of their 11-yr-old son, Willie. Most of the characters are ghosts in the cemetery where he was recently interred. They're trapped, unable to move on to a "better place" because of unresolved personal issues. Willie chooses to stay because of his father's loving and intensely moving visits to his grave. Ultimately, all the ghosts are deeply touched by those visits. Their interactions with Willie and each other propel this amazing story to its brilliant conclusion.

Ask any bookseller how to download this other novels from Changing Hands.


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Nutshell Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525431947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - May 30th, 2017

​One of the most enduring stories of all time is retold, not by a troubled young prince, but by a fetus in his mother's womb. This requires, of course, a willing suspension of disbelief on the reader's part, as did the butterflies in 1000 Years of Solitude or the witches in Macbeth. Having made this concession, the reader is richly rewarded by a tale both humorous and touching, topped off by an exciting and deeply moving final chapter.


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A Meal in Winter: A Novel of World War II Cover Image
By Hubert Mingarelli, Sam Taylor (Translator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781620971734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - July 5th, 2016

This story about three German soldiers is drawn so vividly that you will feel their hunger, their fingers freezing as they light cigarettes in the Polish winter and their common hatred of their platoon leader. You'll also feel their ecstasy as they share slices of stolen salami or work out a problem facing one member of the threesome. It’s a short, brilliant tale told from a view of WW II to which we're accustomed.


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The End of the Novel of Love Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780807062234
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press (MA) - October 1st, 1998

I decided to read this collection of essays because I heard it referred to in a New York Times Book Review podcast. Gornick’s brilliant and entertaining writing examines the connections between love and literature in the works of Willa Cather, Grace Paley, Jean Rhys, and other authors of note. It's a treat to have found such a gem and be able to recommend it to others.
 


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News of the World Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - June 20th, 2017

A 72-yr old civil war vet has a tolerable life traveling through Texas, picking up newspapers in larger cities and bringing the news of the world to folks in smaller towns. A friend asks him a favor--return a young Kiowa captive to her family. He reluctantly agrees to a trek of many miles and then keeps asking himself how at his age he could possibly have consented to shepherd this feral child who speaks no English. Think of tales of orphans delivered to curmudgeon grandfathers who end up softening the old man's heart. Now flip that plot upside down, add a touch of The Miracle Worker and you have all the ingredients a master storyteller needs to create a work of humor, suspense, humanity and deep emotional impact.


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What We Become Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476751986
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 7th, 2016

Can a lifelong thief become a good, honest man? Can a cynical con artist, born into poverty and excluded from "the good life" be converted by love? Can such a man even fall in love, even with the perfect woman? Pérez-Reverte tackles all of this in a novel that is every bit as moving and memorable as some of the great classics.


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All the Birds in the Sky Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780765379955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - April 11th, 2017

It’s a near perfect crafting of science fiction and fantasy in which scientists and cyberneticists vie with witches and wizards for control of that which should not be controlled but should rather be attended to with a caution born of reverence for life at its messiest and most beautiful. It’s about the limits of scientific logic and the naivete of nature worship. It’s about love and passion with a generous dollop of steamy sex. And it’s about loss and redemption. Solid, top notch and highly recommended.


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The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101872000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - May 24th, 2016

"Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return."
Q: Was it as good as the original series by Stieg Larsson?
A: Of course not.
Q: So, how good was it then?
A: Loved every minute of it.
Q: Then what was missing?
A: The pleasure of meeting those unforgettable characters for the first time and watching them find each other and themselves. But reading this latest one by Lagercrantz was terrific—like traveling to Paris again some years after your first magical visit. Not to be missed.


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The Man in the High Castle Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780544817289
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Mariner Books - November 17th, 2015

With all the publicity surrounding the recent series loosely based on this classic, I picked up a copy to get a taste of the original and could not put it down. It isn't science fiction, but an alternative history of a world in which Germany and Japan won WW2. The US is divided into a Nazi East Coast and a Japanese West. In the neutral zone separating them our heroine, a Judo instructor, struggles to survive in this nightmare world. She reads a book banned by the German high command, which seems to offer a glimmer of hope, a way back to a better life. Now she can no longer be content to just survive. We also follow a Japanese official whose code of ethics conflicts with the bureaucracy in which he serves, an antique dealer with the morals of Ebenezer Scrooge and a Nazi undercover agent – all fascinating characters. This is a brilliant novel, well written and thoroughly enjoyable.


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The Traitor Baru Cormorant Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780765380739
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - November 29th, 2016

The opening chapters drew me immediately into the life of a young girl’s struggle to understand the world around her. The small agrarian country in which she lives is being overtaken economically, culturally and militarily by the forces of a dominant empire. The family that has nurtured her through childhood, a family with a mother and two fathers, is about to dissolve under the strictures imposed by new rulers. She learns not only how to survive but to prosper, but her rise to power comes with difficult ethical dilemmas as she seeks to exact the ultimate price from those who destroyed her family and her country. With a cast of characters to rival the Game of Thrones, this well-written tale is well worth reading. A BuzzFeed best of 2015 pick.


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Speak Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062391209
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - May 3rd, 2016

I couldn’t tell where this story was going. These stories, I should have said; five of them interlaced, spanning several centuries but nevertheless touching each other again and again. Five stories with eight voices: six human and two artificial intelligences—digital entities less than human, of course, but with superhuman memories and supplied with algorithms to provide their owners with a level of companionship rarely found except between the best of friends. I couldn’t tell where it was going, but I couldn’t stop reading. —Bob


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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307408877
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - March 22nd, 2016

Larson's newest shifts perspectives back and forth between the passengers and crew on the luxury ocean liner and the captain and crew aboard the German U-boat. Although the end of the story is well known, many of the circumstances and personalities involved were fresh revelations – surprising, curious, tragic, and thoroughly engaging. The way Larson tells this story recalls other compelling historical works like those of Laura Hillenbrand that read like the best fiction, propelling the reader from chapter to chapter.


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Orhan's Inheritance Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616205300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - January 19th, 2016

This novel had me at hello. Orhan a successful young businessman from Istanbul, returns to his family estate in rural Anatolia to hear the reading of his late grandfather’s will. When the house in which his father and aunt live is left to a mysterious 87–year-old woman living in California, the stage is set for a totally engrossing, deeply moving tale of a quest to find the truth. As in the best of such quests, Orhan confronts demons along the path and finds, not only what he was seeking, but so much more. Brilliant writing and an unforgettable cast of characters put this book solidly in the running for the next Booker Prize or National Book Award.


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Lila Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250074843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - October 6th, 2015

Robinson’s 2006, Pulitzer winning novel, Gilead, is one of the great works of fiction of the last two decades. And, although the title character of this story is one of Gilead’s key figures, the action in this book occurs before that of the earlier novel, so you can read Lila first if you like. In any case, you'll enjoy it as I did, page after page brilliantly written in the voice of an orphan with no memories of her parents, a child who grows into a fiercely independent young woman, wandering rural backroads with itinerant laborers or on her own. This is the story of how she finds home and a life she surely deserves but never imagined.


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The Silkworm Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316206891
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - June 2nd, 2015

You know by now that Galbraith is really J.K. Rowling. If you've read the first in her mystery series, The Cuckoo's Calling, you also know that her gifts of creating brilliant characters and unexpected plot twists are undiminished from the Harry Potter days. If you haven't met the struggling but lovable detective and his shy but determined "temporary" office assistant, be forewarned that these books are an addictively delicious stew of humor, love, and suspense peppered with expletives throughout.


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The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781416547877
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 9th, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt’s and William Howard Taft’s remarkable exploits, successes and failures are expertly interwoven with those of the brilliant, dedicated muckraker journalists Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and Upton Sinclair. I don’t read much history (bad experience in 5th grade) but the interviews on NPR led me to pick this up, and it turned out to be a non-stop read. Almost. It’s 900+ pages so I had to take a few breaks, but it felt like reading a classic adventure novel with characters equaling Shakespeare’s finest.


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How about Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781250062420
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - October 6th, 2015

In this autobiography, Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker’s cartoon editor, has included a multitude of drawings and cartoons that made it into the magazine as well as rejects that were too edgy to publish. As each of us on the beach took turns with this book, laughter would erupt, often to tears. My brother-in-law wrote: “Imagine reading a book that is so consistently laugh out loud funny that no matter where you are reading it, people stare at you as howls of uncontrollable laughter come again and again. Many who saw me laughing wrote down the name of this book to buy for themselves.”


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The Golem and the Jinni Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062110848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - December 31st, 2013

A woman fashioned from mud by a Jewish magician and a jinni under a spell who can only access a fraction of his natural powers--each of these fantastical but believable creatures must find themselves a way to survive in New York City--she among the Orthodox Jews, he among the Muslim immigrant community. At the start, their stories are told in parallel narratives, but there's no doubt that the threads will connect and intertwine before too long. A totally absorbing tale of alienation, compassion, frustration, suspense, and romance. Enhanced by a memorable cast of supporting actors, we are given deep insights into the Islamic and Judaic traditions plus a helluva good read.


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