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Kyle's Book Recommendations

I Capture the Castle: Deluxe Edition Cover Image
By Dodie Smith, Jenny Han (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781250146694
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - October 10th, 2017

This is no more a YA (Young Adult) book than To Kill a Mockingbird is, but like that completely different book, it is put into the hands of younger readers ASAP by enthusiastic adults.

Countless readers adore I Capture the Castle, as do writers as various as J.K. Rowling, Christopher Isherwood, Armistead Maupin, Donald Westlake, and Erica Jong. Another of them, Joanna Trollope, summed up its special place by saying, “I know of few novels that inspire as much fierce lifelong devotion.” Funny, sweet, sharp, and moving, this book is my favorite of all. By the way, the title’s “capturing” refers to the narrator’s journal-keeping about the goings-on at the dilapidated castle her family occupies outside London in the 1920s. She wants out; you’ll never want to leave.

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451609967
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 7th, 2018

As a believer in rereading favorites from years past, I heartily recommend this book about books: beloved books! Solid doses of history, pop culture, and thoughtful analysis fill its pages. Get ready afterwards to pick up old favorites again, either for yourself or for a young reader you know.

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250182548
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Picador - May 1st, 2018

“Bob” is the author’s B.O.B., her Book Of Books read over a lifetime. This tale of the pages turned by a thoughtful and savvy reader over the years will have you wishing for a B.O.B. of your own, as well as a handy pencil and pad to jot down titles she writes about. A charming, funny, and moving exploration of what books mean to those who embrace them.

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781610398213
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: PublicAffairs - October 24th, 2017

This book does not disdain the digital age even though it’s an entertaining consideration of the resurgence of the “real” – books on paper, board games, journals full of jottings, vinyl LPs, and so on. More than a nostalgia trip, this is a wise reminder of pleasures we can reclaim and keep. It has already proved its own staying power as an important marketing and business title about habits, cycles, and trends.

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The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911327
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - September 5th, 2017

Despite the title, this book by the TV critic of FRESH AIR is not a study of a particular era. It's a history of television wisely offered in a series of short essays on shows that are excellent, influential, or both, and it even includes interviews with some of the key people. The way it's organized is great for browsing, but don't be surprised at the impulse to barrel through the whole book.

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Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871403131
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Liveright - September 27th, 2016

This award-winning new bio makes my list for being another opportunity to steer people towards Shirley Jackson’s own novels and story collections. (I moonlight as a Shirley Jackson booster.) Her stock as a 20th-century master is still rising, and reading about her frustrations and fears makes the escalating suspense in her books even more fascinating. 

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The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465098835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - March 29th, 2016

It’s one thing to be nostalgic about our own days gone by. It’s something else to believe in days gone by as seen on TV or at the movies, and that is what the author calls “the nostalgia trap.” If letting go of what we soaked up from the screens feels sad, take heart: The author argues that life is lots better lately, and she shares the facts to prove it.

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Bettyville: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143107880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 2nd, 2016

If you have done some growing up of your own and have a senior parent (or two), here is familiar turf. This is a story of family duty, of coming to terms, of recovery, and of a career hiatus, all of them mostly reluctant. None of that sounds like fun, I know, which is why it’s stunning to find yourself loving every page spent with the author and Betty, his ailing mother. 

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Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143126836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 24th, 2015

A World War II history, a moviemaking book, a study of five famous filmmakers serving their country – this one is all that, and my favorite sort of nonfiction: taking multiple topics and combining them so freshly and successfully that it seems they must have always been entwined. No, that’s just a great writer pulling it all together in a single story for you.

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Life Itself: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446584968
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 4th, 2012

Roger Ebert was more than an expert on movies who landed a TV show. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper man whose columns and reviews were as knowing about real people as about the movies. He was never better than in telling the story of his own life, which was in decline as he wrote this. You’d never know it by what’s on the page.

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Welcome to Utopia: Notes from a Small Town Cover Image
ISBN: 9780292738751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - March 1st, 2012

This nonfiction will feel familiar to anybody who’s spent time in a small town or a close-knit community, and it’s full of charm and humor. Its focus on young people, though, gives an urgency to the long, slow days in Utopia, Texas, as its graduating class looks for their paths within, or maybe out of, their little hometown. 

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Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780553383485
Availability: Backordered
Published: Bantam - May 3rd, 2011

This fantastic pop history is page-turning Americana as well as a business case study. The story of Fred Harvey points directly to McDonald’s, Starbucks, and every franchised anything. He set out to duplicate his inns and dining rooms wherever the railroads were taking settlers, and he did exactly that. I closed this book longing to jump off a frontier train and step into a Harvey House.

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The Berlin Stories Cover Image
By Christopher Isherwood, Armistead Maupin (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780811218047
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - September 17th, 2008

Christopher Isherwood was such a great, clear-eyed writer that it feels wrong to say he wrote like a dream – every observation is sharp, every character vivid. There is no dreamy haze. You will devour every story, and you may also decide that Holly Golightly owes everything to Sally Bowles.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780143039976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - October 31st, 2006

The fresh intro by Jonathan Lethem ought to entice any reader to get this edition of Shirley Jackson’s “townsfolk vs. my family” mystery. Within two paragraphs Lethem will have you ready to flip the pages directly to Jackson’s own opening to begin one of those books that you will end up recommending forever.

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Collected Stories (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics Series) Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Jeremy Treglown (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780307264909
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Everyman's Library - October 17th, 2006

The temptation towards misbehavior we enjoy in his books for kids is also found in Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories for adults. Because the characters aren’t children, though, he doesn’t have to give them the keys to the chocolate factory, and he often twists the prize in the style of O. Henry. Alfred Hitchcock loved Dahl’s stories and dramatized quite a few on his TV series, if that gives you any idea what you’re in for. Laugh. Enjoy. Shiver.

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Possession (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679735908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 1st, 1991

A prize-winning bestseller almost 30 years ago, rather like THE GOLDFINCH, this was an unexpected sensation, coming from an author who was respected but hardly a success on the level of Donna Tartt. Also making its success a surprise was that it’s about a couple of academics competing to research a hundred-year-old mystery that involves a pair of poets! Just goes to show the impact that suspense, humor, the cozy English countryside, and a developing love story can make when the mix is perfect.