Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stumbling Upon Awesome Books On Accident

For some reason, this summer has not really presented itself with as many awesome books as I anticipated it would, so I've been randomly grabbing books off the shelves to see what I can find. Thinking back on it, some of the greatest books I've ever read I have picked up either on accident, or begrudgingly were forced into my hands. It always makes me think at the end of a really good book that I shouldn't judge books so quickly. So, without much discrimination, here are the books that I've found in the last month that I felt iffy about, but in the end LOVED.

When it comes to staff picks here at the bookshop, each of us has a list of twenty five books that we absolutely can't live without. I recently added The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett to my list of books that need to always be in the store. The last time I went home to California I stopped in at a local bookshop to see what was new and cool, and I headed to the teen section to find some treasures. I found this book and put it on my list of things to look at when I got home, and then I totally forgot about it. Then, last week when I was doing returns, The Ghost's Child was on my list of books to send back, so I took it home and read it instead of sending it away. Let me just preface with, "OH...MY...GOSH!" It's kind of like a fable for older teens, but was so amazingly written that I think it also deserves a spot in adult literature as well. Sonya Hartnett crafts the story of Maddy's whirlwind quest to find the most beautiful thing in the world, and once she finds it, the actions she takes to preserve what's she's found. Seriously, SUCH AN ASTONISHINGLY WELL-CRAFTED MASTERPIECE!

This is another gem I found while doing returns, this time in the kids' literature section, in the last couple of weeks. The cover really misrepresents how cool Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Littman is. Justine Silver is an average eleven-going-on-twelve-year-old Catholic girl, other than the fact that she's really Jewish. After Jussy decides to give up being Jewish for Lent, her Bubbe (the Yiddish word for grandmother) has a stroke, which Jussy takes as a sign that God is punishing her for betraying her heritage. What follows is the classic tale of trying to figure out what you want to believe and who you want to be as you're dealing the everyday pressures of growing up.

I picked up Mark Harris's Grave Matters so I would have another title to talk about while we were down at the Idaho Green Expo, It's really interesting to see just how detrimental to the environment a "traditional" burial really is. In each chapter Mark Harris outlines a different type of post-death option, as well as how each one impacts the ecosystem, your family's pocket book, and your body. This book is not for the squeamish, simply because of the fact that he doesn't waste any time getting down to the gory details of embalming and other processes that occur in the funeral industry.



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