cbottomley@northshire.com's blog

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka - Book Review

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Hey, Kiddo (National Book Award Finalist) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545902489
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Published: Graphix - October 9th, 2018

Krosoczka is a writer-illustrator best known for his popular kids series Lunch Lady and Platypus Police. His graphic memoir, however, is a powerful story that will appeal to all ages. At a young age Krosoczka was abandoned by his heroin-addicted mother, leaving his ornery grandparents to pick up the slack. He grows up amid an atmosphere of cigarette smoke, casual barbs and endless cocktails, all the while seeking to express the turmoil of emotions inside. What could be bitter is sweetened by Krosoczka's adult understanding of the family tensions that produced his situation and the delightful art that proves to be his liberation. Great stuff. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

We Don't Live Here Anymore: Collected Short Stories and Novellas, Volume 1 by Andre Dubus - Book Review

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We Don't Live Here Anymore: Collected Short Stories and Novellas, Volume 1 Cover Image
By Andre Dubus, Ann Beattie (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781567926163
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Published: David R. Godine Publisher - June 28th, 2018

Whether writing about adulterous couples or the trials of military life, Dubus crafted stories about adults for adults. His insights into human nature have lost none of their sharpness over the decades, and his expansive, generous prose sings in a way that marks a great American writer. This edition contains his first two collections, and features such gems at the bruising title novella (which became a film with Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern), the hilarious coming-of-age tale "If They Knew Yvonne" and the tender, self-explanatory "Fat Girl." ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

Compulsory Games by Robert Aickman - Book Review

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Compulsory Games Cover Image
By Robert Aickman, Victoria Nelson (Editor), Victoria Nelson (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781681371894
Availability: Backordered
Published: NYRB Classics - May 8th, 2018

Roll over Shirley Jackson and tell H.P. Lovecraft the news ... Aickman is one of the best horror writers you've never heard of. A day's outing turns into a journey into heartbreak and madness. A charity evening of music and magic becomes the worst outing ever. A condemned cemetery threatens to take down the living along with the dead. Aickman's prose style is keen as a switchblade - he can slip from deft wit to extreme terror in a skipped heartbeat. Sample his surreal, addictive, odorous tales if you dare, but be prepared to spend a lifetime looking over your shoulder. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

The Stories of J.F. Powers by J.F. Powers - Book Review

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The Stories of J.F. Powers Cover Image
By J.F. Powers, Denis Donoghue (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780940322226
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Published: NYRB Classics - March 31st, 2000

Let's put our cards on the table here: J.F. Powers (1917 - 1999) is one of the best writers America has ever produced. So why isn't he remembered with the same hushed reverence we give to fellow short story masters like Carver, Munro or O'Connor? Simply put, Powers writes stories about priests. But he writes about priests like J.K. Rowling writes about wizards, Cormac McCarthy writes about cowboys, or Henry James writes about tourists. That is to say, he writes about the comedy and tragedy created by the tension between the divine and his heroes' humanity - and does so with a steely command where every word lands like a hay-maker. Mostly based in the Midwest, braving the icy winds of Wisconsin or Illinois, his priests gamble, swear, scheme against one another, and scramble to stay in touch with the better angels of their nature. Mercifully, there isn't an abuser in the bunch - just an unforgettable gallery of flawed and charming characters. Each story in this essential collection is a balancing act worthy of Cirque du Soleil: funny as hell, tense with dilemma, occasionally breathtaking. For anyone who thinks it's impossible to discover anything new under the literary sun, there's treasure here. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomely

Berlin by Jason Lutes - Book Review

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Berlin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770463264
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Published: Drawn and Quarterly - September 4th, 2018

Over twenty years in the making, Jason Lutes panoramic epic of Berlin in the '20s and '30s is one of the great graphic novels. Artists, musicians, Nazis, socialists and ordinary people rub shoulders, hop beds and clash on the streets in an unruly pageant with shades of Otto Dix and Fritz Lang. Looming over it all is the city, its monuments and tenements startlingly realized in Lutes' precise line. Read it and be left breathless. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

Passing for Human: A Graphic Memoir by Liana Finck - Book Review

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Passing for Human: A Graphic Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525508922
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - September 18th, 2018

New Yorker cartoonist Liane Finck hasn't created your typical graphic memoir. In telling the story of an artist looking for her lost "shadow," she confronts the very source of her creativity. Drawing on Bible stories, her parents' secrets, dreams and a very personal folklore, Finck explores in haunting black and white illustrations what it means to mature into a personal vision. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley


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