First-person accounts of more than forty retired auto workers detail experiences of working at Ford Motor Company--from the early years in Minneapolis to the final hours of the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul.
We read a lot of books here, and each year a few stand out to us. This list is personal, even idiosyncratic. These aren't necessarily the best books of they year, but they're the books that have stayed with us, and they're the books we don't want to stop talking about.
I know, I know. It's only a bit after Labor Day, but the big fall books are already arriving. First up is The Nix by Nathan Hill. The book has already prompted one of the season's best headlines: "Nathan Hill is compared to John Irving. Irving compares him to Dickens." from the New York Times.
First-time author Nathan Hill spoke to MPR. You can hear that interview here. And you can meet him for yourself when he visits Common Good Books on September 10.
Check out detail on this and all our upcoming events on our calendar. We've got a lot of great things coming up this fall.
When people in the book world can't stop talking about a book, we call it buzz. For Emma Cline's fantastic new novel The Girls, that buzz is more like roar.
- "Emma Cline’s first novel, The Girls, is a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry."--The New York Times
- "[A] startlingly assured debut... Cline wonderfully evokes the flushes of feeling that come with early adolescence."-- The AV Club
- "The strength of The Girls lies in Cline’s ability to evoke both the textures and atmosphere of those painful in-between times; the desperate rush to fill an emotional vacuum."--The Guardian
And let me tell you, that praise is justified. The Girls is a tense literary thriller, a story at once gorgeous and repellent like the California cult at the book's center. Cline's narrator is inexorably drawn into darkness, and you'll be horrified even as you sympathize with her choices.
Booksellers love to recommend books to our customers. It's a thrill to see a book we enjoy going home with an enthusiastic reader and to know that it's found just the right reader.
If you come in and talk to me in the next few weeks, I'm going to chew your ear about Kitchens of the Great Midwest. I fell in love with this novel last year, and I am pretty sure you will, too. It's a smart and inventive novel that also manages to be a fun pageturner. You might read it on the beach, but you won't feel like you're just filling your mind with junk food.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest is the story of Eva, a Midwestern girl who grows up to be a world-class chef. Along the way, you'll meet a range of foodie types, from the rural to the rarified. J Ryan Stradal roasts them, but only to bring out the best in his cast of characters. This is a gentle satire, and you will enjoy seeing the culinary world through Stradal's kind eyes. I can't recommend it enough.
(And if I've already talked you into reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest, then ask me about The Jesus Cow. That's another great tale from the middle of the country and another perfect summer read.)
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest.
First place poems:
- "Flight" by Charles Atkinson
- "Still Life with Gratitude" by Dean Rader
- "Gratitude List" by Laura Foley
Second place poems:
- "Ode to the Pull-Out Couch" by Sonja Johanson
- "One Summer Day on the Number One Train" by Anne Whitehouse
- "Still I Give Thanks" by Marie Reynolds
- "Bounding Flight" by Chera Hammons
Congratulations to everyone who entered. Click here to read the winning poems.
A lot of big books are getting attention this week, but there's also a little novel that you might not hear about that's still worth a look. If you enjoy a bit of armchair travel, this book could be just the ticket. The feckless narrator of Guillermo Erades’ novel Back to Moscow arrives in the Russian capital with a fellowship to study the country’s literature and a yen to study its young women. His plan to combine the two tasks, if a bit suspect academically, nonetheless makes for an entertaining read, as Erades combines the formless grad school noodling of Leaving the Atocha Station with the clubbing and casual relationships of Bright Lights, Big City. Erades’ portrait of expat life in a newly capitalist Moscow is crisp and memorable.--David
Kate DiCamillo's new novel Raymie Nightingale comes out in April. Here's a preview:
And you can meet Kate at Common Good Books on April 30. Details are here.
Our bookseller David isn't alone in loving Paul Goldberg's first novel. He said, "The Yid is a very serious farce, a philosophical novel larded with pitch black comedy. Fans of City of Thieves and Absurdistan will love Paul Goldberg’s ambitious new novel." Maureen Corrigan agrees, as you can hear here.
We've already posted our staff picks for the best books of 2015. They're here, if you want to see them again. But what were the most popular books here in terms of sales? What did you, our esteemed customers, choose to take home in the past year? We've crunched the numbers, and here are the results: