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Featured Table: Books to Slow Down and Savor

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Chilly weather and longer nights encourage cuddling up in a comfy chair with a great novel. Our special display of “Books to Slow Down and Savor” includes lots of great suggestions for a book that will be good company while you wait for warmer days. Here’s a sample:

The War of the End of the World: A Novel Cover Image
By Mario Vargas Llosa, Helen Lane (Translated by)
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780312427986
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador - July 22nd, 2008

I'm embarrassed to say that until a few months ago, I had never read Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian Nobel Laureate. Losing myself within the pages of his THE WAR OF THE END OF THE WORLD was one of my most satisfying reading experiences last year. What a novel! What a writer! Vargas Llosa’s epic novel is about the 1896-1897 War of Canudos in northeastern Brazil, a series of battles that pitted the Brazilian army against a large group of religious fanatics guided by a messianic leader who preached that Brazil’s new republican government presaged the Rapture. Vargas Llosa takes us inside the minds of the politicians, the landowners, the merchant-exploiters, and the religious zealots, many of them former slaves and indigenous peoples. On a scale as grand as Tolstoy’s WAR AND PEACE, Vargas Llosa portrays the motives, hopes, values and beliefs of not just the battle leaders but also the very ordinary people whose seemingly inconsequential acts, taken together, played a pivotal role in creating Brazil’s history. A novel that is dense with atmosphere, character and plot, THE WAR OF THE END OF THE WORLD is simply a marvel.

The Shipping News Cover Image
ISBN: 9780671510053
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Scribner - June 1st, 1994

It’s the 25th anniversary of Annie Proulx’s most admired novel THE SHIPPING NEWS, an understated, intimate exposition of place and character. Quoyle, recently estranged from his wife, relocates with his two young daughters and aunt to his family’s ancestral home in a small Newfoundland fishing village. There he must adjust to becoming a single parent, deal with quirky co-workers at the newspaper, and create a household with his aunt who has demons of her own. Proulx is a master at exploring the interiority of her characters in a way that makes us care deeply about them despite (and perhaps even because of) their flaws. And in Proulx’s deft hands the natural world of the Newfoundland coast, too, is brought to life like a character—unpredictable, moody, at times terrible but also shimmering with a quiet grace. I dare you not to chuckle at many of the funny place names and the locals’ turns of phrase!

Staff Pick Badge
Chronicle of the Murdered House Cover Image
By Lucio Cardoso, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator), Robin Patterson (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953502
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Open Letter - December 13th, 2016

The murdered house of Brazilian Lúcio Cardoso’s gothic novel is the Charcara dos Menezes, the country home of the locally prominent Meneses family. Each of the seven deadly sins (and more, besides) thrives within the Chacara’s time scarred walls. However, it is not the Meneses’ immorality, per se, that destroys the house and the proud legacy that it symbolizes, but instead the family’s arrogant certainty of their rightness and their obstinate refusal to embrace the humility necessary to redeem themselves. The Charcara is home to the three grown sons of the late Dona Malvina Meneses—Demétrio, Valdo, and the recluse, Timóteo. Demétrio, the eldest, manages what little remains of the family’s fortune alongside his wife Ana with whom he shares a passionless marriage. In contrast to the bland Ana, Valdo’s young wife, Nina, is a vibrant beauty who owns a hyperactive, romantic imagination and adores fancy things, much to the ridicule of penny-pinching Demétrio. It is principally Nina’s (and the Charcara’s) story that Cardoso unspools in a drama involving extramarital affairs, incest, unrequited passions, and revenge; a heavy mix that is leavened at times with touches of melodrama that are a credit to the author’s droll sense of humor. First published in Brazil in 1959, CHRONICLE OF THE MURDERED HOUSE earns pride of place as a classic of world literature because it is a complete novel: fully realized characters, expressive writing, an exciting, finely plotted story, and enduring reflections on the human condition.