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.

Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel by Anthony Marra - Book Review

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Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495204
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Hogarth - August 2nd, 2022

The pretense of art is more elusive than Garbo at Mercury Pictures. The company churns out B movies on shoestring budgets under the watchful eyes of Artie Feldman and his brother Ned, two men who don't particularly like each other. Although Mercury is a minor player in Hollywood, barely managing a meow while the MGM lion roars, the coming of the Second World War changes the studio's fortune--for better and for worse. Although it is largely told from the perspective of people who work in an industry that subsists on illusions, this brilliantly original novel projects a beam of light through the dark days of one of the bleakest periods in history. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

We Spread by Iain Reid - Book Review

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We Spread Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982169350
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 27th, 2022

Penny is alone and lonely after her partner's death. After a fall in the apartment that has been her home for many decades, she finds herself committed to an assisted care facility surrounded by a vast forest, where an overly solicitous woman attends to her every need. Slowly, the relief at having other people to converse and interact with gives way to the unsettling suspicion that there is a dark underlying motive for the attention being lavished upon her and the other three residents of the home. Is she suffering a lapse in judgment that comes with old age or is something much more sinister going on? Reading this delightfully unsettling book is like walking on an isolated, tree-shrouded path and becoming increasingly aware that the air around you is getting colder and colder. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781728245959
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Sourcebooks - July 12th, 2022

Most people would consider Tony Costa a monster. Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut both saw him as an opportunity. Costa was a charismatic manipulator, who sustained his jumbled life by selling drugs and serving as a paid informer for the local police in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He emerged as the chief suspect in a series of grisly murders of young women, whose dismembered bodies were discovered in an isolated section of woods on Cape Cod. Mailer was haunted by the idea that Costa's cult-like followers would harm his family after he showed an interest in writing about the case. Vonnegut, also a Provincetown resident, was finally beginning to enjoy success and believed that the brutal killings would make a compelling follow-up to "Slaughterhouse-Five." "Hell Town" is an unsparing trek into the mind of a twisted, merciless killer and the efforts by two literary giants to venture down a dark and dangerous path and enter into it. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) by Kurt Vonnegut - Book Review

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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385333849
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - January 12th, 1999

This enormously influential novel catapulted its author into the front ranks of contemporary American writers. While he was held as a prisoner-of-war, Billy Pilgrim survived the bombing of Dresden, Germany in 1945, but he carried the emotional scars of the war for the rest of his life. Fiercely original in both concept and execution, the book, by turns grueling and funny, showcases a breathtaking imagination and creates a dazzling alternate universe for Billy--and the reader--to escape to. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Vigil Harbor: A Novel by Julia Glass - Book Review

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Vigil Harbor: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101870389
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Published: Pantheon - May 3rd, 2022

Once a working-class fishing village on the Massachusetts coast, Vigil Harbor has been transformed by the magic wand of prosperity into an upscale haven for the affluent. Most of the current residents belong to the yacht club and the troubles and trials of ordinary folks don't get much farther than the town line. The sudden dissolution of two high profile marriages is an unwelcome intrusion into an insular world that is further rocked by explosions detonated by eco-activists in lower Manhattan and Cambridge. In this tense and unsparing account of contemporary life, the author probes the wounds that bitterness and betrayal can inflict. The reader is constantly reminded of the unseen danger that often lurks just beneath the surface of the calmest waters. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


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