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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

July 14, 2019

A Daughter Longing to be the Apple of Her Father's Eye, and a Historic Report on the Presidency
 
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. When this memoir by the daughter of Steve Jobs was published last Fall, initial sales were driven by little more than curiosity. But what early readers discovered was that Brennan-Jobs had both a compelling coming-of-age story to tell and the writing chops to tell it well. By year's end, Small Fry was a national bestseller and appearing on "Best of Year" lists produced by The New York Times, NPR, New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, and more. Now in paperback, Small Fry had a much quicker journey to bestseller lists.  
 
When she was young and growing up in the 1970s in an area south of San Francisco newly named Silicon Valley, Lisa's father was on his way to becoming a mythic figure. Not much of a dad, though, in the early years. Things changed as she got older and the by-then wealthy Jobs took more of an interest, introducing her to a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. When her relationship with her artist mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, who could thrill her with his attention one minute then crush her feelings with critical and unpredictable actions. In Small Fry, readers will meet a conflicted and confused daughter who experienced much rejection and even cruelty but still longed for love. To her credit, the story doesn't turn maudlin or into a gossipy tell-all, and Brennan-Jobs also captures the flavor of the times in the tech-infused world of Silicon Valley in the 80's and 90's.   
 
 
The Mueller ReportReport on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election by Robert S. Mueller and presented with related materials by The Washington Post. The book that became an instant bestseller two months ago - redactions and all - may well get new legs in the coming days as Robert Mueller's July 17 date with the House of Representatives' Judiciary and Intelligence Committees nears. While the report is not your typical 'good read,' and not even an easy read, with swaths of black lines excising unreadable text throughout, it is unquestionably an extraordinary historical document and for many an important read. How many? Although the report is available as a free download, well over 350,000 copies of the report in paperback book formats (from three publishers) have been sold as of June 30.
 
Far and away the most popular version is the one pictured here from The Washington Post. The findings of the Special Counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election are complemented by accompanying analysis from the Post reporters who've covered the story from the beginning. The volume also includes:  

- A timeline of the major events of the Special Counsel's investigation from May 2017, when Robert Mueller was appointed, to the report's delivery

- A guide to individuals involved, including in the Special Counsel's Office, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Trump Campaign, the White House, the Trump legal defense team, and the Russians

- Key documents in the Special Counsel's investigation, including filings pertaining to General Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, and the Russian internet operation in St. Petersburg. Each document is introduced and explained by Post reporters.   
Top Indie Next Pick Looks at Women's Sexual Desire

Three Women  by Lisa Taddeo. This month's favorite book of indie booksellers is bound to be much discussed this summer by those who read it - and not everyone will choose to. It's  true story about desire and the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of research and reporting by the author. Readers are introduced to three very different women - Maggie in North Dakota, who falls in love with and is cruelly discarded by her high school teacher; Lina in Indiana, a depressed wife and mother who enters into an affair with a former teenage boyfriend; and Sloane in Rhode Island, an upper-class restaurant owner whose husband enjoys watching her have sex with other people. Taddeo immersed herself in these women's lives and offers up three unvarnished, descriptive, and non-judgemental portraits of erotic longing and desire. Here's the Indie Next review:
 
"I can't recall the last time I've been reading a work of nonfiction and woken up excited purely by the fact that, today, I would get to read more. Compulsive and psychologically riveting,   Three Women  reads like a novel. I couldn't keep from dog-earing its pages each time Taddeo perfectly expressed something I'd felt but never had the words for. In Sloane, Maggie, and Lina, I recognized aspects of myself - namely the desire for connection and for love. When three women tell their uncensored truth, they can liberate a nation. I feel deeply grateful to Lisa Taddeo for giving us this gift of raw authenticity."
- Michaela Carter, Peregrine Book Company, Prescott, AZ

Most books don't take eight years to write, and Taddeo's journey is fascinating in itself. In an interview  with Indie Next staffer Liz Button, she recounts the origins of the book, her connection to her subjects, and things she learned about women and desire. Here's a small sample:
 
In your mind, what were the key thematic threads that tied these women's stories together?
"... one of the reasons that I started the book with a story about my mom is that everyone talks about daddy issues - it's a common part of the lexicon, whereas mommy issues are not... I think the way that mothers factor into our lives, either positively or negatively, the weight with which they press upon our lives, is bigger than we ever think about."
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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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