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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

February 10, 2019

The Life of Trevor Noah and the Legacy of Mary Oliver 
 
Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver. One of our most loved and most popular poets passed away last month, creating (as is oft en the case when a well known writer dies) a run on her books, especially more than two dozen poetry collections. If you had gone into a bookstore in the week or two after her death,
chances are you'd have found empty shelf space where Oliver's works usually resided, but reprints of classics like Dog Songs, Blue Pastures, Dream Work, Swan, and Evidence have now begun to arrive. Also back in circulation is Oliver's most recent volume, Devotions, a personal and definitive selection of her best work spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career. The 200+ poems feature work from her first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 when she was 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This showcase of her passionate and perceptive work, including much-treasured observations of the natural world, is a fitting tribute and worthy keepsake that honors an extraordinary creative life.     
 
 

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. The title of this fascinating memoir (just arriving in paperback after more than two years) is no joke - the stand-up comic and host of The Daily Show has one of the best backstories of any memoir you'll read. Forget abusive parents or growing up dirt poor - Noah's conception and birth was an actual criminal act in his home country of South Africa during apartheid rule. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. That made him living proof of his parents' crime and led to him being kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, hidden from a government that could literally steal him away. Told in a series of stories, Noah remembers himself as a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man, coming of age during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Born a Crime is also a love letter from a son to his fearless, rebellious, and religious mother, whose unconventional and extraordinary efforts on his behalf formed a remarkable bond. Best of all, Noah's keen, relaxed sense of humor is in evidence throughout, making this unique rags to riches memoir even more of a pleasure.  
Well Plotted Murder Mystery Should Keep Readers In Suspense  
 
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides . This debut psychological thriller has received lots of buzz, thanks to a bang-up premise and plenty o f twists that should keep most readers guessing until the end.  
 
Alicia Berenson is a famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, and she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London's most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, whereupon Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then goes completely mute. She's convicted - offering not one word in her own defense - and sent t o a psychiatric hospital, where Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist obsessed with the case and with issues of his own, becomes her therapist and tries to get her to speak about her crime (or anything, actually). The story unfolds through Theo's narration and Alicia's pre-murder diary entries, quickly becoming an edgy page turner.  
 
Author David Baldacci is one of several thriller writers who weighed in on the book, writing,  "The Silent Patient sneaks up on you like a slash of intimidating shadow on a badly lit street. Alex Michaelides has crafted a totally original, spellbinding psychological mystery so quirky, so unique that it should have its own genre. I read it in two nights and savored every luscious word, every grim encounter, every startling twist." 
 
WHERE TO FIND 
AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

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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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