agraves's blog

Alden Graves - Bookseller, Movie & Music Buyer in Manchester

A native Vermonter, Alden works in the music department at the Northshire. He is also in charge of the DVDs and tries very hard to have titles that customers might not readily find elsewhere. He loves film, especially ones that have either trains or Elizabeth Taylor in them. Alden contributes a weekly column on the movies to the Bennington Banner. His other interests include shipwrecks, Jack the Ripper, Peggy Lee, and real country music. Other staff members at the Northshire are very tolerant as he rambles on about the Andrea Doria and they probably know a lot more about the Ripper than they ever thought they would.

Sleepwalk: A Novel by Dan Chaon - Book Review

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Sleepwalk: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250175212
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - April 5th, 2022

A cautionary tale about the risk of sperm donation because you never know who's going to turn up later. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Razorblade Tears: A Novel by S. A. Cosby - Book Review

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Razorblade Tears: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250252708
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Flatiron Books - July 6th, 2021

Ike and Buddy Lee's decision to embark on a mission of revenge was fueled by the determination to find justice for their murdered sons and haunted by the guilt they felt for the way they treated them when they were alive. Their sons were married to each other, something that neither could accept or tolerate. Bonded initially by shared grief and regret, the grim hunt left them with the stark realization that the only way they could partially atone for their own intolerance was to exact a bloody retribution for their sons' deaths. This is a worthy successor to the author's Blacktop Wasteland, a tough-as-nails, compulsively readable noir thriller, as dark and unrelenting as the spirit that drives its two protagonists. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections on Sixty and Beyond by Larry McMurtry - Book Review

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Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections on Sixty and Beyond Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780684870199
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 7th, 2001

Part sociology and part memoir, this is really a love letter to books from a man who has devoted his adult life to every aspect of them. Most of the author's novels are remembrances of things past, when changing times loomed like dark thunderheads on the horizons of the people who lived on the vast open plains of the West and, like his own father, eked out hardscrabble lives from the unwelcoming land. The open book beckoned to McMurtry, not the open range, but his early life made an indelible mark on all that was to come and it is recalled with a fond nostalgia that is tinged with sadness. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell - Book Review

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The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316296618
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 27th, 2021

How much of an individual's conception of what comprises moral behavior must be sacrificed during the human cataclysm of war? Gladwell approaches this difficult question by contrasting two very different schools of thought pertaining to the air bombings over Germany and Japan during the Second World War. So-called precision bombing, sporadically aided by the newly developed Norden bombsight, helped to minimize civilian casualties. The carpet bombing that indiscriminately destroyed large swaths of enemy territory also took a terrible toll on the populace but, it was argued, would shorten the war. By turns, fascinating, vastly informative, and horrifying. The author is neither preaching nor accusing, largely leaving it up to the reader to decide if notions of good and bad can even be applied in wartime. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout - Book Review

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Oh William! Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812989434
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House - October 19th, 2021

For readers familiar with Ms. Strout's previous two novels, Oh William! will seem like sitting down with an old friend. Lucy Barton is one of those rare people with whom you feel that no experience is too painful or personal to discuss. She emerged from the nightmare of her childhood into the unsettled life of a celebrated writer who was once married to William, an emotionally distant and chronically unfaithful man. The new novel begins after the death of Lucy's second husband and the collapse of William's third marriage, when his unexpected dependence forces an awareness of her own strength and a reevaluation of the beliefs that have sustained her. Lucy is one of the most unsparingly honest characters in contemporary literature. In her struggles, failings, and doubts, we recognize ourselves. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


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