Young Adult Recommends: Empire of Shadows

October 13, 2014

Empire of Shadows
by Miriam Forster
18716722Three years after she was exiled from her tribe, Mara has graduated from the Order of Khatar and is ready to pledge herself to someone and protect them until death. After a strange turn of events, she finds herself as the bodyguard of a noblewoman in the Empire’s capital. But when it becomes more dangerous than Mara expected, she will have to come to terms with her past in order to save her future. A high-stakes adventure in a beautifully imagined world, Empire of Shadows is the heart-pounding prequel to City of a Thousand Dolls, though it can also be read as a stand-alone novel.

-Julia

 

HarperCollins, 2014, 496 pages,
This book will be available on November 4, 2014


Young Adult Recommends: Frostborn

July 22, 2014
Frostborn
by Lou Anders
18301308Thianna and Karn are from two different worlds. Thianna is half human, half frost giantess, and feels like she doesn’t belong. Karn is a human boy who doesn’t want to learn how to run a farm, and would rather play the board game Thrones and Bones. The two of them quickly become friends after they are forced to flee into the harsh Norrongard wilderness. Frostborn is the first book in a Norse-inspired fantasy series that has everything from trolls to dragons to the walking dead.

-Julia

Crown Books, 2014, 352 pages, $16.99
This book will be published on August 5, 2014


Young Adult Recommends: One Past Midnight

June 25, 2014

“One Past Midnight”

by Jessica Shirvington

9780802737021

Sabine has a secret. She lives two lives. Every night, at exactly midnight, she “shifts” and lives each day twice. All Sabine wants is to have one life, but to do so she must give up the other. This book has a powerful message about being happy with what you have. Sabine’s tale will have readers absorbed in it, and leave them wondering what will happen next.

-Julia

Available July 22, 2014
Bloomsbury,2014, 352 pages, $17.99


A Therapy Session of Sorts

May 22, 2013

by Louis Borgenicht

My trainer, whom I work with once a week, calls me a recreational overachiever. Initially I thought it was because it seemed to him that I simply did too much to avoid doing something constructive, but when I asked him what he meant, he suggested that with all of my recreational pursuits there was a common theme.

I play tennis twice a week, golf once or twice, fly fish, ride my road bike, and nap. His contention is that I am not at all competitive; I simply enjoy them. I do not need to win, never keep score in golf, enjoy the moment when I am fishing, don’t care if someone passes me on the bike, and wallow in the pleasure of a short nap.

All of which may explain why my reading suffers. So the other day I stopped in at The King’s English for a little therapy from Jan and Anne. I parked in the 15 minute slot across the street. I figured that I could only afford a short session rather than the de rigueur 50-minute therapeutic hour.

“I need some therapy,” I said making eye contact only with Anne. Jan and I have a long-standing sardonic relationship.

They both laughed though.

“I am currently reading a month old issue of The New Yorker and have a ten inch stack of the New York Times Magazine. Plus about fifty articles I have saved on my Mac, not to mention the book, People Who Eat Darkness, on my bed stand.”

“Yes.”

“Well, I feel guilty about not devoting as much time to reading as I do to anything else,” I said.

Anne said, “Get rid of your New York TImes Magazines. Just toss them out.”

“But there might be really interesting articles in them,” I said, feeling a sense of expectation. I live my life through the phrase “but what if?” My glass is usually half full.

Jan simply watched the evolving conversation but I knew what she would have had to say.

The meter maid had not come by to to ticket me for overtime parking but I was getting nervous that my session was nearly over.

I knew that I would have a hard time tossing out something as august as the New York TImes Magazine.

I turned to both Anne and Jan and said, “I think I need to program my time better. You know maybe give up a golf game.” I knew I would not be able to do it.

Then Jan said, “Yeah, maybe you will have time to read Anna Karenina.”

I looked at my smart phone; my fifteen minutes was up. Thank god.


Nose for Books

February 12, 2013

by Louis Borgenicht

Back in the day paperbacks had a very definite smell. I was going to write “odor” but that connotes something noxious and “olfactory” is too technical. It was a smell, sometimes characteristic enough to encourage to buy the book on that basis alone. It did not last long; you had to read the book shortly after purchase to glean the full experience.

None of the unique smells are describable at least from the distance of fifty years, but each of them was distinctive. My favorite was Bantam paperbacks. At one point in the mid-seventies I had convinced the publisher that I had the (then) equivalent of a blog and that I reviewed books. Thus I would receive a box of newly published Bantam books and would open the box with literary expectation; it was redolent with my favorite paperback smell.

The books were a mix: fiction, non-fiction, self-help, The Best Jewish Jokes, etc. Receiving freshly minted Bantam paperbacks were one thing but their smell was another. I never really got high from sniffing, but the smell was always reassuring.

Ballantine Books, publishers of tales of adventure and escape (e.g. Paul Brickhill’s The Great Escape), also had a distinct but evanescent smell. It did not last that long. Penguin Books were odorless, perhaps because they were published in Britain back in the day. Crest paperbacks probably had a smell that I cannot recall.

Bantam was indubitably my favorite.

Nowadays books don’t smell. Sometimes they are hardly even books (see Kindle, Nook and Kobo).

IMAG0546Editor’s note: And for something completely different this Valentine’s Day…book-scented perfume! The perfect gift for the consummate book lover is from Steidl Publishers in Germany. Paper Passion: Perfume For Booklovers at $98 may be just the thing for the person who loves their e-reader but misses the smell of the written word! Perfect to pair with your new Kobo eReader.


Such an iPhone Guy

December 10, 2012

By Louis Borgenicht

I am definitely not a techno-freak but I admit being seduced over the years by PC’s and most recently Apple products. The conversion from years of non-Mac computers was not difficult.

“Macs are intuitive,” my middle aged kids assured me.

So a few years I bought a freestanding gMac, followed by a portable MacBook Air, and a first generation iPad (currently used by my wife to look up recipes or to Google something during a dinner conversation). Oh yes, both of us own iPhones. It took me a year of frustrating Droidness before I broke down and got one.

I like them all. And until I broke down and bought my iPhone, I suffered the pangs slung by friends about my techno-logic stupidity.

“Lou you are such an iPhone guy,” they insisted over lunch as I tried to open an app on my Droid.

And on recent trip to France I became convinced—I was one lucky son-of-a-bitch. Walking on the beach in St. Malo, I listened to my iTunes: the latest album I had downloaded by a French harmonica player, Gregoire Maret. Back at the terasse of our B & B, I collected my e-mail and responded to people halfway around the world, read the online version of the Salt Lake Tribune and The New York Times, checked out the weather in Kamas, heard the latest joke from Old Jews Telling Jokes and marveled how I could do so much from the Apple device.

On my return to Salt Lake I was confronted by another technological dilemma. David, my son the publisher, had three reading devices in his house : a Nook, a Kindle, and his most recent purchase, a Kobo. The Kings English, our favorite independent book store in SLC had started selling the latter exclusively.

During one of my weekly visits to the store, I looked at the device unconvinced. But the seed had been planted. I asked Dave to tell me a reason I should think about buying a Kobo. I love the aesthetic of holding a book in my hand and saw myself as a pariah if I converted to a reader.

“Dad, you know there are books you read that you will never read again and just sit on your shelves until you donate them to the library,” David said.

“Yes,” I realized. “I guess it is an ecologic issue. That makes sense.”

The next day I went to The Kings English and bought a Kobo. I didn’t feel sheepish or embarrassed; I knew I was being environmentally responsible.

I downloaded my first book: The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton. Now I just have to find time to read it.

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in digital reading–or want an e-reader for the techie on your list–we hope you’ll stop by to test-drive a Kobo for yourself. You can even order them from us online. The best part? Sign up for Kobo using this link and we’ll earn a portion of every e-book you buy from Kobo for years to come. Without buying a device at all, you can also download a free Kobo app for iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Nook, and Sony Reader. Learn how here. If you’re ready to give it a try, download the appropriate app here.


A Veritable Smorgasbord

November 28, 2012

Here at The King’s English, booksellers have been gathering and devouring the new fall books like squirrels gorging on nuts in preparation for winter. In the process we’ve gathered some wonderfully hearty treats for you and those you love, whether what piques your interest is fine fiction or picture books, espionage, humor or history.

Well-written fiction for the middle reader that steers clear of young-adult content is rare, and an author that is as smart and funny as Rebecca Stead is rarer still. Stead’s new novel, Liar & Spy, one of our booksellers first recommendations this season, was an instant New York Times bestseller. Like the dazzling Newbery Medal book When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy will keep readers guessing until the end. Creepy, gritty, edgy, disgusting, and fascinating—all words that describe book two of Ilsa Bick’s Ashes trilogy, Shadows. Bick is laying the groundwork for book three, drawing a picture of a dark and scary world in which readers will not find redemption or resolution (at least not until later) but will be engrossed (or is it grossed out?) by this fast-paced monster-filled novel. Daniel Handler, who also writes under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, has collaborated with acclaimed artist and designer Maira Kalman, to create an extraordinary book about an ordinary event: Why We Broke Up. In her new novel for middle readers, The Great Unexpectedby Sharon Creech, Lizzie and Naomi struggle to figure out their own relationship and how they fit into their families, into their community and Finn, a mysterious and charming boy, drops out of a tree and into their lives, while Mrs. Kavanaugh, who lives in the south of Ireland and loves a good murder, looks for revenge. Creech alternates these two seemingly disparate stories, throwing in a Dingle-Dangle Man, a crooked bridge, three mysterious trunks, and several rooks. Our list of picks for the middle readers and young adults wraps up with The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt.

And if amazing picture books are what you are in search of, look no further than This Is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen. Visual humor swims to the fore as the bestselling Klassen follows his fabulous first book, I Want My Hat Back, with another seriously funny tale. We did not think that Doreen Rappaport could ever write a better picture book than Martin’s Big Words until we read Helen’s Big World! In 48 pages, the reader receives an unforgettable picture of this American icon as the authors mix Keller quotes with biography and compelling artwork. Helen Keller’s lifelong courage and tenacity are celebrated in this amazing book. In this gentle and joyous board book with an environmental theme, Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell, Jules proves a hug is the simplest–but kindest–gift we can give. The Christmas Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska is a lovely little book that celebrates the hushed moments of a season that too often shouts. Like its bestselling companions The Quiet Book and The Loud Book, The Christmas Quiet Book is especially notable for its warm and lovely illustrations. (Plush toys available!)

And for the fiction-lover in your life, be prepared for treats beyond your wildest expectations. We are not exaggerating… Starting with a joyride of a read, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train follow the Queen, yes, of England, in current day, as she slips out of her royal residence in a hoodie and embarks on a truly entertaining excursion, bringing the reader along. And there’s a good reason The Round House, a novel by Louise Erdrich, won the National Book Award this year. Like all of Erdrich’s novels, The Round House taps into the history, the mythology, the collective wisdom of past generations, yet she is as concerned with the past’s connection to the present as she is with the tale’s action, and her lyrical investigations of life involve much more than immediate reality. Combine the ebullient erudition of Lawrence Norfolk’s Lempiere’s Dictionary with the sensory engagement and passion for food of John Lancaster’s infamous A Debt to Pleasure, stir in a soupçon of myth and history, and sprinkle liberally with the romance and narrative verve of The Night Circus and you’ll have some idea of Norfolk’s new confection of a novel, John Saturnall’s Feast. And Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is a terrific read and a great reminder that books are here to stay…forever! Kevin Powers, a veteran of Iraq, has etched a powerful picture of reality in his new novel The Yellow Birds, and created a compelling awareness of what our military men and women have been subjected to for the past decade. And there are plenty of great novels published earlier in the year, including Canada by Richard Ford, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, and The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, and new in paperback fiction including The Marriage Plot, Salvage the Bones, What It Is Like to Go to War, American Dervish, To Be Sung Underwater, We the Animals AND State of Wonder. A plethora of delights!

If you’re still not sure what you want for your Aunt Sally or your 10-year-old niece, or for that plane ride you’re not looking forward to, we have a host of knowledgeable booksellers on hand who will not only recommend the right book, but also wrap it, mail it, or, if you’re doing your shopping by phone or e-mail, deliver it—the same day!