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.

Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee - Book Review

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Sugar Street By Jonathan Dee Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802160003
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Grove Press - September 13th, 2022

There is probably nothing more difficult to accomplish in the world today than to disappear. The protagonist in this novel doesn't even trust the reader with his name. Every move he makes has to be planned out like a military campaign. Cameras are lurking on every pole and building. Computers are notorious for their indiscretion and people... well, we all know how naturally suspicious people are. How they talk. He is doing fairly well until he hides himself and his mysteriously acquired cash in a seedy house on the deceptively named Sugar Street where the landlady makes Ma Barker seem congenial. The author of "The Locals" has written a delightfully topical book that could serve as an eloquent eulogy to the concept of personal privacy. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer - Book Review

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Less Is Lost By Andrew Sean Greer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316498906
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 20th, 2022

Life has delivered a couple of body blows to Arthur Less in this engaging sequel to the author's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. His ex-lover and mentor, Robert Brownburn, has died and his estate is demanding that Less pay the back rent on the property where he has been living. Faced with unexpected debt, Less reluctantly accepts a job writing a piece about the notoriously disagreeable H.H.H. Mandern. It takes him on a cross-country odyssey and an edgy reunion with his estranged father. For all his style and polish, Arthur Less frequently displays an innocence that is, at times, downright endearing. How else can anyone describe a man who thinks that sporting a handlebar mustache will ease his peril in a homophobic world? ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy - Book Review

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The Passenger By Cormac McCarthy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307268990
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf - October 25th, 2022

Bobby Western, an experienced salvage diver, finds the bodies of nine people in a submerged jet off the Mississippi coast. The remains of a tenth person should have been aboard the plane. The fate of the missing passenger begins to haunt a life already teetering on a narrow ledge of sanity. If there is anything Bobby doesn't need, it is another ghost whispering in his ear. In a startlingly original novel that is, by turns, exasperating and exhilarating, McCarthy leads the reader into the bleak forest of one man's tortured soul, where the light is dimming, the briars draw blood, and the winds of regret never stop blowing. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Elizabeth Finch: A novel by Julian Barnes - Book Review

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Elizabeth Finch: A novel By Julian Barnes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593535431
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Knopf - August 16th, 2022

Some people make indelible marks on other peoples' lives. Professor Elizabeth Finch was like that. Occasionally, she could seem icily aloof and even a bit arrogant to her students, but her influence on Neil was so profound that, even after her death, she remained a cautionary lighthouse, guiding him away from the rocks of concession and conformity in his effort to reconstruct the life of Julian the Apostate, a Roman emperor who rejected Christianity. Barnes seamlessly layers facets of ancient history into this elegantly literate character study of a unique and brilliant woman, who never allowed herself to veer from the pursuit of knowledge and truth. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves

Lucy by the Sea: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout - Book Review

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Lucy by the Sea: A Novel By Elizabeth Strout Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593446065
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House - September 20th, 2022

Despite a personal history that, at times, was as painful as walking over shards of broken glass, Lucy Barton and her first husband, William, have maintained a bond that was impervious to the assaults of their divergent lives. William warns Lucy that a potentially catastrophic pandemic is looming and that she needs to abandon her life in the teeming metropolis of New York City and take refuge in an oceanside cottage in Maine. Self-examination is a natural byproduct of isolation and Lucy finds herself peering into dark corners of her troubled life and reevaluating relationships with both her ex-husband and their two daughters. In her typically elegant and spare prose, Ms. Strout perfectly captures both the tenor and the terror of our contemporary nightmare and, in Lucy's own determination to persevere, she manages to inject elements of the hope that none of us should ever abandon. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


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