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What I am reading on my Covid-19, shelter-in-placecation

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As much as the Interabang staff love sharing what we have read to our customers, we also enjoy getting recommendations from them. Below is a partial list of my bedside pile that I am finally getting to, containing a couple of recommendations from customers and other staff members to me, an old favorite dressed up in new clothes, and some new books I am ready to commit some time to (they’re pretty hefty).
 

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 30th, 2009

Recommended by one of our regular customers, what a perfect book for this time in our history. New York City, 1974, and the city is hushed and enthralled by a man who has strung a tightrope between the Twin Towers and is walking from one to the other. Lower Manhattan, as yet unscarred by terrorist attacks and Wall Street meltdowns, becomes a place where people connect to a common experience that doesn’t involve death but, rather, human exaltation.


Any Human Heart (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400031009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2004

I had this book in a box somewhere, unread, when I moved back to Dallas. When I read Boyd’s Love is Blind last year, one of my colleague’s recommended this one to me as well. Naturally, the oft uttered phrase of bookstore employees, “I haven’t read it, but I have a copy,” spilled out. I am rectifying that now. This novel, taken from the journals of Logan Mountstuart, sets out to prove his thesis that “every life is ordinary and extraordinary.” Throughout his story, set in England and Europe in one of the most turbulent eras in history, the 1920s through the 1970s, Logan’s life as a writer, lover, art dealer, and spy, intersects with the famous and infamous, and his brutal honesty about himself and his own failings make his sometimes shallowness forgivable.


Cadillac Jack: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781631495090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - January 15th, 2019

I read this novel in my twenties, and when they re-released the paperback with cover art by local photographer Laura Wilson, I could not pass up owing it again. Another character study, much like Any Human Heart, and similar to both main characters are their itchy feet. In Jack’s case, he is an antique scout, traveling the country in his pearl-colored Caddy with peach velour interior, looking for the extraordinary in a sea of ordinary. Since McMurtry is known as a first-rate book scout, it is easy to see a connection between him and his character. That aside, what we do see in the pages of the book is a character that is sly and charming, but ultimately good-hearted, who realizes that he is happiest behind the wheel heading on down the road. In a world that, for many of us, is now confined to a few rooms and a small yard, that looks pretty good.


The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781635573954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 10th, 2019

Some of us probably remember, vaguely, mentions of the East India Company while nodding off in our various world history classes. This book tells the story of how India, one of the world’s most magnificent empires, was undone by a dangerously unregulated private company run from a small office in England and answerable only to its shareholders. The Wall Street Journal said of the book, "As William Dalrymple shows in his rampaging, brilliant, passionate history, 'The Anarchy, ' the East India Co. was the most advanced capitalist organization in the world . . . Mr. Dalrymple gives us every sword-slash, every scam, every groan and battle cry. He has no rival as a narrative historian of the British in India. 'The Anarchy' is not simply a gripping tale of bloodshed and deceit, of unimaginable opulence and intolerable starvation. It is shot through with an unappeasable moral passion." I bought this book as a Christmas present for myself, and I can’t wait to get to it.


The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy #3) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780805096606
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - March 10th, 2020

This is the final book in Mantel’s spectacular trilogy of Thomas Cromwell, blacksmith’s son and counselor to King Henry VIII. If you’ve not read the prior two volumes, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, get to it. If you are already a Mantellian, you know how good this final volume will be. The resonances with our own recent history are enough to make this worthwhile reading. Thomas Cromwell, like LBJ, is a master politician from humble beginnings who foils his and his king’s enemies by his sheer guile and ruthlessness, but who is working to see a better country emerge from the past. He also serves a petulant and vengeful ruler who eventually turns on everyone and will eventually turn on him. Until something better comes along, and I don’t see it happening any time soon, this is the height of historical fiction.