Secondhand Time is a remarkable book. In the mode of the best of Studs Terkel's oral histories, Svetlana Alexeivich's record of the demise of the Soviet Union is utterly fascinating. The author herself--born in 1949--knows intimately what it does to the psyche when a IDEA upon which you based your existence is shattered. Despite everyone knowing that its implementation fell well short of the admittedly utopian vision, the hope that was offered by Marxism was real. Alexeivich listens as people recount their personal stories of the end of the world as they knew it. A very rare treat.
With her signature deftness, Alexis Smith has another stunning book to her name. She has crafted a breath-holding thriller; the details emerge slowly from the mist and the characters stumble and trip. Set in the atmospheric San Juan Islands, this is a strange homecoming, a thriller and an unanswered question. The past and the now swirl in the foam and a warning whispers in the wind. Smith proves herself a storyteller in the primal sense of the word and would be welcome at any fireside.
Somehow I missed having read ANY Thomas Hardy, but this took all of two paragraphs to enchant me. It's not just the characters all entwined together, it's Hardy's language that sweeps me off my feet. Give it time, let his words wash over you and be prepared to fall in love...
Heather Tucker's stunning novel tells the story of young Ari, a girl fighting to avoid the destructive spiral of her family situation. Written in prose thst is magical, beautiful and hopeful, you will be enmeshed in this story from the first pages. NOTE: If you pick up the book, do NOT read the back--it will give you a skewed idea of the story. Just read the first few pages and take the journey with ARI. --Mara and Shawn
Part Mystery, part self-discovery, this is Joelle's story. Adopted and "different", she never knows which version of her own history to believe. Beautifful, haunting middle grade fiction! --Mara
Google and the guv'ment know more about you than you do. This book will have you looking with suspicion at your phone, and should make you angry. Read it if you want sleepless nights. By the way--Chapter One Book Store does not track you or your purchases, so if we receive a National Security Letter from the feds (as an "authorized fishing expedition" per Section 215 of the so-called PATRIOT ACT), we have nothing to give them. --Shawn
Sarah Bakewell is selling intellectual sex in this wild romp throught the philosophical landscape of Existentialism. By casting her penetrating gaze on Paris when Sartre, Camus and others engaged in an orgy of ideas, she give the reader table at the Deux Magots from which to eavesdrop on the ferment. Engaging and intelligent, Bakewell has penned a book both accessible and smart. --Shawn